One fish, two fish, red fish, ewwww fish.

Posted on June 1st, 2009 by Michelle

Striped MackerelCount the International Nail Technicians Association among those that find the latest spa trend fishy.  INTA recently issued a statement opposing the “fish pedicure,” a treatment that involves sticking one’s feet into a tank of fish and allowing the aquatic aestheticians to suck off the dead skin. Think of your feet as sushi for fish.

Besides the nail technicians, about 22 states have banned or are weighing regulations to ban the use of the fish as part of a pedicure. Virginia and Ohio are OK with it. The “doctor fish,” or garra rufa by name, are finger-size swimmers that like to nibble on dead human skin cells.

In Europe and Asia garra rufa are used for pedicures and as a treatment for psoriasis. Here, they’re becoming more popular, even as states strive to reel in the operations.

Count Texas, Florida, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Washington among the states that have put a law in the books banning the treatment. The Gilbert, Ariz., spa owner who was fighting that state’s Board of Cosmetology over its ban gave up the fight in March, deciding it was too costly.

The garra rufa may be another one of Mother Nature’s little exfoliators, but the primary argument against the treatment is cleanliness – there is no way to sanitize a fish … “unless you bake them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees,” Lynda Elliott, an official with the New Hampshire Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics, told the Wall St. Journal.

Virginian John Ho, who with his wife Yvonne Le, is credited with offering the first fish treatments in the U.S. in 2008, devised individual tanks that are cleaned after each treatment. Fresh water is used each time. And a legislator in Ohio gave it a go herself before voting, and afterward noted that equipment may not be sterile, but it is sufficiently sanitary.

Admittedly, the treatment isn’t particularly alluring to anyone here at LookinGood, however, Lou Dobbs’ over-the-top reaction in this clip is almost enough to make us want to try it. C’mon Lou, save the indignation for something serious, like waterboarding.

So what do you think of soaking in a tub of garra rufa? Is it a gill-ty pleasure or does it sound just plain fishy?

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A short history of cosmetics

150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

The Romans preferred to use gold-colored eye shadow which was made from saffron and painted onto the area around the sides and under their eyes. Then they used powdered wood ash to color their eyelids black. This gold color was quite significant at the time because they saw themselves as the rulers of the Mediterranean.