Pros and cos of having manicure and pedicure – Dr Anastasia Therianou

Pros and cos of having manicure and pedicure

15 Oct 2019

I love having manicure at least once a month, but is this safe? What are the pros and cons of this habit? Is the use of Ultraviolet nail lamps safe or not?

Νail polish originated in Indi with henna during the Bronze Age. Ancient Chinese used to make polish from egg whites, flowers and wax, while gold and silver polish represented royalty. During the 17th century, nail cosmetics became mainstream. Nail polish became commercially available in 1932 when Charles Revson added pigments to clear lacquer. This company is today known as Revlon.

The physical processes and materials used in nail cosmetics can cause complications. Poor cutting technique may result in ingrowing toenails, while removal of the cuticle destroys the protective seal, providing a portal of entry for bugs and fungi. The long term use of acrylic nails, gel nails or nail gels such as Shellac and OPI can cause allergy of the skin around the nail or even reaction of the skin in distant areas such on face or neck. Nail weakness, brittleness and thinning can occur from filing the nail to remove any ridges and this is common following a gel polish manicure. Discoloration of the nail can also occur after several weeks of continuous nail polish. Traumatic onycholysis can happen on removal of artificial nails.


However there are disorders of the nails such as psoriasis, lichen planus and others, most of which are difficult to treat. Cosmetology may be a useful tool while waiting for treatment to work, or following treatment failure or if treatment is not possible at times. Different types of cosmetic nail procedures can be used as ‘camouflage’, to cover the affected nails. Nail lacquers help maintain nail hydration by preventing contact with water and slowing evaporation. Moreover, they can hide nail dystrophies and dyschromias. Nail polish can be used to cover onychomycosis in those patients who do not want oral medicines. Nail shape abnormalities may be improved with nail extensions. Artificial nails can be used for a rare condition where patients have born without nails and this is called anonychia.

Finally I would like to commend on the use of UV machines lamps and whether this is risky for developing a skin cancer. There is a debate about the associated risk of skin cancers. Concerns arose in 2009 following two patients whom developed a skin cancer on the dorsum of their hand and they both had history of exposure to UV nail machines. Most recent studies suggest that the risk is not higher in women who use UV nail machines and use of a sunscreen or fingerless gloves is thought to reduce the risk to zero.
People though who have a photosensitive disorder or take a photosensitive drug should of avoid their use.

I hope all the above have been useful for you to decide whether you should continue, stop or even start having cosmetic nail procedures.

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