Beauty & Style

Avoid Infections by Taking Care of Artificial Nails

Cosmetic treatments for nails – acrylic nails, gel nails, and nail tips – can look beautiful. They need a little care to keep them looking good, and to take care of the real nails below. Here, from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), are some suggestions:

Apply artificial nails only to healthy natural nails, the AAD says. While artificial nails may seem like a good cover-up for brittle nails, or psoriatic nails, covering brittle or diseased nails jut makes them worse. Ultimately, the AAD says, it could actually cause you to lose your natural nails.

Test for a skin reaction first. Chemicals may cause your skin to react badly. The AAD says there is a possibility of an itchy rash on skin around the nails, or even when an artificial nail merely touches the skin. The AAD suggests that if you are getting artificial nails for the first time, wear one nail before you have the rest of your fingers done.

Clean and check artificial nails daily. Wash your hands with soap and water and use a nail brush to clean gently around your nails. Check for any loose artificial nails. If you find a loose or damaged nail, repair it safely in order to avoid infection. Dermatologists recommend that you stop by your nail salon for repair. If you repair a nail at home, the AAD says, use only glue made specifically for artificial nails.

Don’t bandage a broken nail. Your risk of infection is increased if you bandage it or use a glue that is not meant for nails. If you bandage an artificial nail or use glue that is not made specifically for artificial nails, you increase your risk of developing an infection. Signs of infection include swelling, redness, and pus. If you see any of these signs, immediately make an appointment to see a dermatologist.

Have a touch-up every two to three weeks, the AAD says. This is true whether you do your nails at home or go to a salon. You need fills because as your natural nails grow, there will be a gap between them and the artificial nails.

Wear gloves when doing the dishes, gardening or cleaning. That way, the AAD says, you’ll protect your nails from detergents and other abrasive products. If you don’t to that, your artificial nails can be loosened or discolored.

Be sure to use your fingertips, not your artificial nails, as tools. You could rip off a nail just by opening a flip-top can. If an artificial nail does rip off, the AAD says, it can tear your natural nail. Be careful not to let an artificial nail catch on anything. That may tear off your natural nail.

Let your natural nails breathe every 2 or 3 months. Have your nails removed at the salon, and wait a few days before you get artificial nails.

If you get your nails done at a salon, the AAD experts say, go only to salons and nail technicians that are licensed. Make sure that the technicians wash their hands and sanitize tubs before each client. Bring your own manicure supplies, especially nail files: The salon tools may not be adequately sterilized.

If you apply the nails at home, the AAD says, be sure to keep nail kits and supplies out of children’s reach. The kits contain poisonous chemicals. Apply nails in a well-ventilated room, and avoid getting nail chemicals on your skin.  Don’t cut your cuticles or file the surface of your natural nails. If you have a kit, follow instructions and do not use any materials other than what is in the kit.

If you think you may have a nail infection or other problem, see a dermatologist.

For more information on skin issues, click here to visit the AAD website.

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