Nail Care Tips

For brittle, easy breaking or peeling nails one must moisturize alot and avoid doing or applying things that dry the nails such as excessive handwashing, excessive use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, acetone nail polish remover.  If you must do any of these things that dries out our nails, then do it in moderation and follow up with a good moisturizer.

Good hand moisturizers are cream or ointment based and often contain that same ingredient "dimethicone" that you can find in hair products that are good at controlling frizz.

Nail Polish Trends

I like gel (shellac) polishes because they have a lovely shiny finish, and they last way longer than regular polish, but the curing with UV light (even though it is low level) concerns me.  I don't believe there are studies re. safety of long-term exposure to this kind of light on your hands to cure nail polish.  We know higher levels definitely increase incidence of skin cancers, but there is not enough data in my opinion on long-term low level exposure, or at what point the low level exposure is higher exposure because of time spent under the light.  Until we better understand the safety of these nail-curing lights, I would recommend wearing protective gloves where the fingertips are cutout and/or try putting on sunblock on the skin prior to use.

Another point I would like to make re. gel polishes is the removal methods.  Soaking the nails in acetone is very drying, and hence weakening to the nail plate.  Try to limit doing that and apply lots of moisturizers after doing so.  The electronic nail files, while convenient, are sometimes too aggressive and over-buff and thin the nail.  This will weaken your nail plate so you get easy breakage or peeling.  I would ask your nail technician to take it easy with the electronic nail file.  If you can see the pink of your nail bed through the nails after buffing, then you have over-buffed.

Manicure and Pedicure Safety

It is fun and relaxing to go to the spa and have your nails treated once in awhile, but nobody wants to walk away worse off than they were to begin with and develop a stubborn or painful nail or skin infection.

Nowadays, most salons sterilize their metal manicure tools and properly clear/sterilize their foot basins, but there are still some potential infection risks.   Make sure the buffs or files were not used on other peoples skin or nails before yours.  Bring your own, or buy a new one.  If buffs and files are reused, then common fungus and viral wart infections can be spread.

We all have normal flora on our skin composed of non-pathogenic (or non-disease-causing bacteria and fungus).  Aggressive cuticle pushing and trimming can permit this normal flora to enter a space on your nail it should not and result in inflammation and/or infection of the nail folds, called paronychia.  It can be a bacterial or fungal infection in the nail fold and either can be itchy or painful.  Ask your technician to take it easy on your cuticle.

Also, aggressive finger nail trimming with even well-sterilized tools, like when the nail technician digs in the side of your nail, can permit your normal bacterial or fungal flora to enter a space it should not, and kaboom within weeks of your appointment you're infected.  It may not have been the tool used but just the aggression.  Unfortunately, many nail technicians do not understand these risks and just assume if their tools are clean and your foot was soaking in antiseptic for five minutes you're fine.


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