Is Your Indulgence Safe?

What’s your favorite beauty indulgence? Getting a routine blowout, spray tan or how about a mani/pedi? While manicures and pedicures are a nice treat, they aren’t always as simple as you think. Chemicals used in a basic manicure, and especially in the application of artificial nails, can be harmful to your nails and the surrounding skin.
The most common issue is a contact reaction. This occurs much like contact with poison ivy and can cause a rash, irritation, redness or itching under the nail and on the fingers. If an allergy does exist it is likely to also appear on the face and neck due to secondary contact. Allergies can exist from many products, something as simple as the Top Coat can cause an allergic reaction.
Gel (or Shellac) Manicures are growing in popularity due to the lasting nature of the polish. Many women think they are better for their nails and a better deal for the money. Recently Dr. Chris Adigun, assistant professor of dermatology at The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU School of Medicine, released research claiming this new fad isn’t as safe as we think. While studies haven’t determined whether the harm comes form the actual gel chemicals or if it’s the exposure to acetone to remove the nails- experts suggest limiting how often you get gel manicures or shying away completely until more details are known. 

Being open with your manicurist is also important. If they are too rough or have cut you- make sure to tell them. One of the worst side effects of manicures and pedicures is infection. While standards have been raised for facilities germs do get through and you do not want them attaching to an open cut. If your salon feels untidy to you- leave- do not risk infection.

Generally, a reputable nail salon and technician conducting basic manicure is mostly safe. Just be aware and in the know, protect yourself. Indulging in artificial or gel nails, in a safe environment, is ok, but giving your nails time to replenish and breathe between sessions is also important.

The Brittle Nail Blues

Your nails are an important part of your appearance. Whether you realize it, or not, people notice your hands and nails from gestures when you speak, to pointing, and even with routine fidgeting. Many daily activities bring attention to your hands and your nails. It is always nice to have nicely manicured fingers, but what if your nails aren’t so cooperative? Over 20% of people have brittle nails causing them to look dry, cracked and plain out icky. Whether the cause of your brittle nails is from too many acrylic manicures or from a more serious problem it still affects your self esteem and should treated.

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As you know, fingernails are made of hair, and just like the hair on our head our nails are completely unique from person to person. Some people can tolerate harsh detergents and cleaning products on their nails where it will destroy other’s. Brittle nails can be peeling horizontally or vertically, can have deep cracks or crevices, and are usually very weak.

According to the NYC Langone Medical Center, “Brittleness in the nail may be caused by trauma, such as repeated wetting and drying, repeated exposure to detergents and water, and excessive exposure to harsh solvents, such as those found in nail polish remover. If your nails are regularly exposed to such stresses, it may be worth trying protective gloves when washing dishes and doing other chores. In the case of nail polish remover, gentler, less toxic brands are available.

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Nail brittleness may also be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as Raynaud’s disease , low thyroid function ( hypothyroidism ), or lung conditions. Other possible causes include skin diseases (psoriasis, lichen planus, alopecia areata) as well as endocrine disorders, tuberculosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and malnutrition. Selenium poisoning can also cause brittle nails.”

Depending on the severity of your nails and your own personal feeling toward your health you may want to see your doctor to rule out any underlying causes. If you don’t have any underlying health issues and can’t seem to overcome your brittle nails visit your dermatologists for some treatment ideas and preventive suggestions (such as wearing dish gloves, nixing gel and acrylic manicures, etc). 

If your brittle nails seem to be another lovely symptom of the winter season try to temporarily protect your nails and hands against harsh agents and moisturize after washing your hands to prevent extra dryness. Hands and nails are often the first thing others notice about you, make yours a good impression. 

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