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Acrylic nails: Can they harm natural nails?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acrylic-nails/AN01261
- With Mayo Clinic dermatologist
Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.read biographyclose window
Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.
Dr. Lawrence Gibson likens bad health information on the Internet to food poisoning.
Consumers, he says, need to be aware and will find reliable information at MayoClinic.com.
Dr. Gibson, a Covington, Ky., native, has been with Mayo Clinic since 1986 and is board certified in dermatology, dermatopathology and immunodermatology. He is a professor of dermatology at Mayo Medical School and a consultant in the Department of Dermatology.
Dr. Gibson has served as the fellowship director for dermatopathology and as chair of the Laboratory Division in the Department of Dermatology. He is especially interested in inflammatory disorders of the skin, including vasculitis, and in lymphoma affecting the skin.
"Electronic information has become a staple in the diet of a health conscious society," he says. "It's important to avoid misinformation and provide a credible source for health information. Using this analogy, it's critical to avoid 'indigestion' or, worse yet, 'food poisoning' by the ingestion of tainted information."
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Acrylic nails: Can they harm natural nails?
Can I harm my natural nails by wearing acrylic nails every day?
from Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.
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Acrylic nails aren't likely to harm your natural nails. It's important to be cautious when using acrylic nails, however.
Sometimes a gap develops between the acrylic nail and the natural nail. If the acrylic nail is bumped or jarred, it can separate from the natural nail. This gap provides a moist, warm environment in which a nail infection can flourish. A nail infection might also occur if acrylic nails are too long or too rigid, or the nails are applied with unsanitary tools. If you develop a nail infection, your natural nail might become thick or ragged and appear discolored.
It's also possible to have an allergic reaction to components of acrylic nails or the adhesives used to apply them. This can result in redness, swelling and pain around the nail.
If you choose to have acrylic nails applied in a salon, take steps to minimize the risks:
- Stick to salons that display a current state license, and work only with technicians also licensed by the state board.
- Be wary if you notice fumes. A strong odor could be a sign that the salon is poorly ventilated.
- Make sure your nail technician properly sterilizes all tools used during your treatment and washes his or her hands between customers.
- Soak your nails in a fresh bowl of soapy water before treatment begins.
- Don't allow your cuticles to be pushed back or trimmed. This can increase the risk of a nail infection.
- Don't allow the surface of your natural nails to be filed or roughened before the acrylic nails are applied. This weakens your natural nails.
- Request a new nail file — or consider bringing your own, since nail files can't be sterilized.
If you opt to apply acrylic nails at home, follow the safety precautions printed on the package. Work in a well-ventilated area, and be careful to protect the skin around your nails from the chemicals used to apply acrylic nails.
If you suspect a nail infection or have redness, swelling or pain around a nail, consult a dermatologist for an evaluation.Next question
Split fingernails: Can they be prevented?
- Nails. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/nails/nails. Accessed Nov. 7, 2011.
- Nail care products. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucm127068.htm. Accessed Nov. 7, 2011.
- Chang RM, et al. Treating cosmetically induced nail problems. Dermatologic Therapy. 2007;20:54.
- Dahdah MJ, et al. Nail diseases related to nail cosmetics. Dermatologic Clinics. 2006;24:233.
- Rich P. Nail cosmetics. Dermatologic Clinics. 2006;24:393.
- Habif TP. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 5th ed. Edinburgh, U.K.; New York, N.Y.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..00034-1&isbn=978-0-7234-3541-9&sid=1202987289&uniqId=280881613-3#4-u1.0-B978-0-7234-3541-9..00034-1--s0035. Accessed Nov. 7, 2011.