Early in September the AAD released a healthy nail tips video, which stated, “nails are more than a fashion statement – they reflect our overall health.” While this statement is absolutely correct, certain aspects of nail care and nail health were omitted, which validates the fact that health professionals truly need to work jointly with the beauty industry to provide the best healthy hair, skin and nail advice for the public.
The video from the American Academy of Dermatology provides advice on caring for your nails to keep them looking their best with board-certified dermatologist Phoebe Rich, MD, FAAD, clinical adjunct professor of dermatology at Oregon Health Science University, Portland, who also shared the following healthy nails tips.
Always keep your nails clean and dry and cut nails straight across using sharp nail scissors or clippers. Slightly round the tips of your nails to provide maximum strength. Never bite your nails or remove the cuticle. Not only do these actions damage the nail, they also increase the risk of infection.
The Long Island Beauty Lookbook Examiner, who is also a licensed professional with over 25 years in the beauty industry, has spoken with a few nail technicians who feel important aspects of nail care have been left out of Dr. Rich’s healthy nails advice. She is correct about the increased risk of infection, however it is imperative to push the cuticles back to avoid thickening of the skin and ultimately skin rips.
Dr. Rich shares more nail tips below and we have analyzed and/or added additional healthy nail advice in bold.
1. Keep nails shaped and free of snags by filing with an emery board. If you visit a nail salon frequently for manicures, bring your own tools to avoid infection.
2. Do not use your nails as a tool, such as opening pop cans.
3. Trim toenails regularly. Keeping them short will minimize the risk of trauma and injury. But not too short as many ingrown toenails occur with nails that have been rounded and cut too short. Additionally, cutting the toenails too short can lead to infection.
4. When toenails are thick and difficult to cut, soak your feet in warm salt water. Mix one teaspoon of salt per pint of water and soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Great advice, but thick nails that are difficult to cut can also signal a fungal infection.
5. Avoid “digging out” ingrown toenails, especially if they are infected and sore. If you are suffering from an ingrown toenail, see a dermatologist for treatment. Yes, see a dermatologist to treat ingrown toenails, but to prevent them, shape the nail straight across, not round and avoid cutting the nails to short as stated above.
6. Wear shoes that fit properly. Also alternate which pair of shoes you wear each day.
7. Wear flip-flops at the pool and in public showers. This reduces the risk of infections caused by a fungus that can get in your toenails.
Dr. Rich’s healthy nail advice comes from a physician’s perspective and is well respected. However, nail technicians and beauty professional do not just dabble in the art of nail fashion. These hard working women and men see dozens of nails on the hands and feet each day and come across a variety issues. While not licensed in the medical field, they have valid opinions and expertise to offer, although unable to make a medical diagnosis.
As Dr. Rich stated in the healthy nails advice video from the American Academy of Dermatology, “If you notice changes in your nails or experience swelling or pain, see a board-certified dermatologist as these can be signs of serious nail problems, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation and experience nail problems as nail infections could affect your overall health.”
For more professional beauty advice, visit Ask the Pro Stylist where inner beauty is always the emphasis.
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