Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — composed by elegant Gallagher on June 1, 2021

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A fish pedicure requires dipping the feet right into a container of water filled through fish. These fish, Garra rufa, sometimes referred to as doctor fish, eat the dead skin turn off the feet revealing smooth, callous-free skin, and also cleaner-looking cuticles.

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Fish pedicures are renowned in Turkey, where they originated, and other center Eastern countries. Garra rufa fish are indigenous to the center East and also Southeast asian countries. Lock are allowed in certain places in the joined States.

The procedure came to be popular because the fish room able come exfoliate and soften the feet in a non-painful way. The fish pedicure tickles yet does no hurt. However, this pedicures pose both health and environmental risks, and are in reality banned in numerous U.S. States and parts the Canada and Europe.


There are several reasons fish pedicures might be taken into consideration risky or unsafe. Right here are the safety pertains to of fish pedicures:

It’s difficult to sanitize the containers between patrons due to the fact that the fish would should be removed, and also the fish themselves can not be sanitized.There is a tiny risk that blood-borne conditions passing between customers if one person has an open reduced that bleeds into the basin.

The purported benefits of fish pedicures include diminished callouses, smooth skin top top the feet, and exfoliation of dried skin and rough patches. A pedicure done by a human being from a trusted salon will perform the same, however, and also so will at-home use of a pumice stone or a foot scrub. The threats of fish pedicures outweigh the benefits.

One study found a 72 percent reduction of psoriasis in civilization undergoing ichthyotherapy, or utilizing Garra rufa to treat conditions, though over there are various other treatments that don’t carry risks.


At least 14 states have actually banned fish pedicures, including:

TexasNew YorkNew JerseyCaliforniaWashingtonMaineMassachusetts

They are additionally banned in Mexico, components of Europe, and parts the Canada.


There are additionally ethical concerns associated with fish pedicures.

Because the fish are not indigenous to north America, plenty of will dice in transit.If they space released into the water, they introduce a non-native species that deserve to disrupt the ecosystem.Garra rufa will just eat dead skin if they space starving, so the fish space not provided other food.In certain parts the the world, Garra rufa space overfarmed to administer enough because that pedicures.

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Fish pedicures in ~ a shop involve placing the feet in a container of water filled with Garra rufa, a fish indigenous to the middle East. The purported benefits are smoother feet and potentially much less psoriasis, but the safety and also ethical concerns — including potential for infection and lack that sanitation between customers — outweigh the benefits.


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Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — written by elegant Gallagher ~ above June 1, 2021