Tips For Beautiful, Healthy Nails
By American Academy of Dermatology // April 9, 2013
EDITOR’S NOTE: In the article below from the American Academy of Dermatology’s website, dermatologist Phoebe Rich offers expert insight into how best to care for your nails and avoid pitfalls that could actually threaten your overall nail health.
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (April 9, 2013) – Having beautiful nails is less a matter of luck and more a matter of caring for them correctly. Fortunately, there are simple steps people can take to properly care for their nails.
Manicure and Pedicure Safety
“Nails need to be moisturized, especially after removing nail polish, so be sure to apply a cream regularly,” said board-certified dermatologist Phoebe Rich, MD, FAAD, clinical adjunct professor of dermatology at Oregon Health Science University, Portland. “Always protect your cuticles. Never cut or forcefully push back your cuticles as doing so could lead to an infection. If you must push them back, only do so gently after a shower or bath.”
Dr. Rich shares more top manicure and pedicure tips:
While most nail salons follow strict cleanliness and disinfection guidelines, look for the following when visiting a salon:
- Does your nail technician have the necessary experience and/or license, if required?
- Are the stations clean?
- Does the nail technician wash her hands between clients?
- Are there dirty tools lying around?
- In addition, do not hesitate to ask how they clean their tools.
- Shave your lower legs after getting a pedicure, not before. That means not shaving your lower legs for at least 24 hours before you get a pedicure. If you nick yourself while shaving, a pedicure could put you at risk for an infection.
- If you get frequent manicures and pedicures, consider purchasing your own tools to be used at the salon.
- In addition, check that the pedicure footbaths and filters are thoroughly disinfected before you use them. If they are improperly cleaned, they can harbor bacteria and fungus. If the salon does not appear clean, then choose another one.
- If you want to wear a bright red or orange polish, prevent discoloration by applying an extra layer of base coat. If your nails become yellowed and discolored from the polish, your nails should return to normal color over several weeks if the same color is not reapplied.
- While some people beg to differ, there is no scientific evidence that immersing nails in gelatin makes them stronger. Polishes that contain strengthening ingredients increase nail stiffness, which may make nails break more frequently.
- Do not wear artificial nails to cover up nail problems as they may make them worse. Artificial nails are not recommended for people who are prone to fungal infections or have brittle nails. For people with healthy nails, artificial nails can be fine as long as they are not worn continuously.
“If you wear artificial nails, know what products are used as the substances can cause an allergic reaction in some people,” said Dr. Rich. “If you develop a rash or other reaction, this information will be important to your doctor. If you have any questions or concerns about caring for your nails, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.”
These steps are demonstrated in “Manicure and Pedicure Safety,”a video posted to the Academy website and the Academy’s YouTube channel (see above). This video is part of the Dermatology A to Z: Video Series, which offers relatable videos that demonstrate tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails. A new video in the series posts to the Academy’s website and the YouTube channel each month.
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology) or Twitter (@AADskin).