KenetMD Skin Care Journal | Keeping Nails Healthy

Keeping Nails Healthy

If you like manicures and pedicures, keep your eyes open for some common disorders of the nail that can result from these beauty treatments.

Discoloration of the nail may appear as any color but usually is red or yellow. This is typically a harmless deposit of pigment from the polish, but be aware that the application of a base coat doesn't always protect from discoloration.

Digging under the nail too vigorously can lead to a condition known as “traumatic onycholysis” when the nail itself separates from the bed of the nail. To avoid this problem, be sure to be gentle when cleaning nails. Don’t use sharp objects like files and scissor points. Instead use a nail brush with soft bristles and a gentle soap.

White stripes and spots on the nail itself may be a sign of “keratin degranulation” as the result of nail polish binding to and then being removed from the nail. Newer longer lasting polish may cause greater trauma to the nail.

Infections – pedicure footbaths can trap dirt, lint and skin debris. Without proper sterilization or regular filter changes, bacteria can grow. Be sure salon owners drain, sanitize and rinse footbaths after each use. If you are planning on a pedicure, don’t shave your legs that day. Risking a cut or nick may increase the chance of an infection. People with diabetes should ask their doctor whether a professional pedicure is a good idea.

Our nails often reflect our general state of health. Changes in the nail, such as discoloration or thickening, can signal health problems, including liver and kidney disease, heart and lung conditions, anemia, and diabetes. Symptoms that could signal nail problems include changes in color, shape and/or thickness, swelling of the skin around the nails, bleeding or discharge, and pain. See your dermatologist for the successful diagnosis and treatment of nail problems.

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