Nail down healthy, safe manicure habits


Green nail polish may be hot this summer, but “it makes me think about nail infections,” says dermatologist Cynthia Bailey.

Black or green discoloration is usually a sign of a bacterial infection, says Bailey, of Sebastopol.

Fungus, yeast and discolorations are some of the conditions that can send us seeking medical attention.

And for good reason. “Changes in the nail can signal problems with your overall health,” says Joshua Zeichner, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Dermatology in New York. Liver disease, kidney disease, medication side effects, even certain cancers can cause changes in the nails, he says.

Serious medical conditions aside, even routine dish-washing or getting a manicure can be hard on nails. But we can lessen damage, experts say:

Protect cuticles. The strip of hardened skin at the base and sides prevents microbes from infecting your nails. Damage it and you risk the nasty infection paronychia, Bailey says. It’s OK to push cuticles back gently, but don’t cut them, Zeichner says. “If you get a hangnail, cut it cleanly with a cuticle scissor, but don’t pick at it. That can lead to infection.”

Get wet. Clipping and filing dry nails only makes splitting worse, Bailey says. After showering or soaking nails, “towel off the water and use sharp clippers, followed by gently buffing the edges.” Nails should be cut straight across to prevent edges from becoming ingrown, a condition that can lead to painful infection, Zeichner says.

Baby your brittle nails. Age and harsh products “reduce the natural oils that that act as a glue to hold the nail layers together,” Bailey says. To counter the loss, apply cream, oil or ointment to the hands and nails several times a day, she adds. “Regularly applying a thick cream like Bag Balm, for example, at bedtime for several months makes a big difference.”

Limit the use of nail polish removers, including acetone-free varieties, which are very hard on fragile nails, she says.

(Page 2 of 2)
 

And your mother was wise when she put on rubber gloves to wash the dishes, Zeichner says: “Excess exposure to water, especially warm water, can dehydrate the skin and nails.”

Be patient. Fingernails grow about

Practice salon smarts. Some people are allergic to chemicals used in acrylic nails and can develop severe rashes, Bailey says. Applying acrylic nails also “creates many nooks and crannies for organisms to live, which can result in fungal, bacterial and yeast infections,” she says.

Sanitation “is always in the forefront of the nail industry,” says Sree Roy, managing editor of Nails Magazine, which covers salons. Though state health departments regulate salon sanitation, clients should ask about how a salon handles sanitation and disinfection, look for its policy statement on the premises or on its website.

Opt for non-toxic polishes. An increasing number of nail polishes have been reformulated to remove potentially carcinogenic ingredients dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde and toluene. If the label isn’t clear, check the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database (ewg.org/skindeep) for safety information.

And your mother was wise when she put on rubber gloves to wash the dishes, Zeichner says: “Excess exposure to water, especially warm water, can dehydrate the skin and nails.”

Be patient. Fingernails grow about

Practice salon smarts. Some people are allergic to chemicals used in acrylic nails and can develop severe rashes, Bailey says. Applying acrylic nails also “creates many nooks and crannies for organisms to live, which can result in fungal, bacterial and yeast infections,” she says.

Sanitation “is always in the forefront of the nail industry,” says Sree Roy, managing editor of Nails Magazine, which covers salons. Though state health departments regulate salon sanitation, clients should ask about how a salon handles sanitation and disinfection, look for its policy statement on the premises or on its website.

Opt for non-toxic polishes. An increasing number of nail polishes have been reformulated to remove potentially carcinogenic ingredients dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde and toluene. If the label isn’t clear, check the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database (ewg.org/skindeep) for safety information.

Advertisements

About Saabr International

The Saabr International Blog is dedicated to being a resource for information on Nigella Sativa (Black Seed Oil, Kalonji). We also are committed to providing educational, thought provoking,and stimulating, information and conversation on health and wellness.
This entry was posted in Knowledge and Wisdom and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s