15 Oct 2019
Νail polish originated in India with henna during the Bronze Age. The 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. The poor cutting technique may result in ingrown 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 an allergic skin reaction around the nail or even reaction of the skin in distant areas such as 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 the 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 dyschromia.
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 skin cancer. There is a debate about the associated risk of skin cancers.
Concerns arose in 2009 following two patients who developed skin cancer on the dorsum of their hand and they both had a 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 the use of sunscreen or fingerless gloves is thought to reduce the risk to zero.
People though who have photosensitive disorders or take photosensitive drugs should 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 like manicure and pedicure.
If you would like to book an appointment with Dr. Anastasia Therianou Consultant Dermatologist.
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