Saturday, March 30, 2013

“Ten Top Myths Related to Artificial Nails”

(Not my article, so I put the link of the original one:)

“Ten Top Myths Related to Artificial Nails”
by Doug Schoon

Myth 1: Nails Need to Breath.

• No, they don't! There is no reason to believe that nails need to "breathe". Nails aren't 
alive and don't have lungs nor do they have any ability to absorb air into the nail plate.
This myth makes no sense on many levels! In short, nails do NOT require an external air 
supply and do not breathe or exhale. 100% of the oxygen needed by the nail matrix to 
create a new nail plate comes from the blood stream and 0% comes from the outside 
• Everything the nail plate needs to properly grow and function is delivered and/or removed 
by the blood flow to the matrix area and nail bed. The matrix is where the nail plate is 
created from nutrients which can ONLY be delivered by the blood stream. Neither "air" nor 
"nutrients" can be absorbed or "fed" to the nail plate from any external source. 
• Moisture and natural nail oils leave the nail bed and pass through the nail plate at slower 
than normal rates, but they aren't "trapped". The nail plate's moisture content is increased 
by 10-15%, and the oil content increases only slightly; both serves to increase the flexibility 
of the natural nail plate. 
• Waste products are removed from the matrix area and surrounding tissues by the blood as 
well, and are not released into the nail plate. Normal, healthy nail plates would continue 
to grow and thrive in a completely air-free environment, as long as a healthy flow of blood 
to the nail is maintained, so clearly... nails don't need to breathe!

Myth 2: Nails need to take a break from enhancements.

• Not true! Nothing is gained by removing artificial nail enhancements or coatings for a few 
weeks or months before reapplying them. Since the nails do not need to "breathe", no 
benefit is gained by waiting to reapply artificial nail enhancements or coatings, which 
includes nail polish. Nor does it make sense to assume the nails only need to breathe 
"every once-in-a-while". This faulty reasoning is not supported by the facts.
• However as a general rule if the nail plate or surrounding skin shows signs of moderate to 
serious damage, injury, infection or adverse skin reactions, nail enhancements should be 
not be applied. Why? In most countries, including the US, nail technicians are only 
permitted to provide cosmetic services on healthy skin and nails. Unhealthy nail conditions 
are "medical conditions" which should be examined by a doctor (or podiatrist) who can 
provide a proper diagnosis and treatment, if required. Nail technicians are not licensed to 
practice medicine. In cases of adverse skin reactions, discontinue use until the client's 
doctor can be consulted as to the actual causes and possible solutions.

Myth 3: UV gels are better for your nails than acrylics.

• Absolutely false! Every type of UV gel nails and all types of so-called "acrylics" (aka 
liquid/powder) nail enhancements are made from acrylic ingredients and are cured by 
acrylic chemistry, therefore both of these types of nail enhancement coatings are just as 
"acrylic" as the other, regardless of how they are marketed. Other than marketing claims 
and application procedures, the only real differences between these two types of systems 
are in the way they harden (polymerize).
• UV gels utilize a UV sensitive curing agent to harden the nail coating, while liquid/powder 
systems use heat sensitive curing agents to achieve the same end result. A UV sensitive 
curing agent could be placed into a liquid/powder system and cured via UV nail lamps and 
the reverse is also true; a heat sensitive curing agent could be placed into a UV gel and 
these could be cured without UV. Of course, neither of these makes sense for salon 
products, which is why this isn't done, but the point remains... these two types of systems 
are very similar and one is NOT any better for the nail or saferthan the other. This is
because "both" UV gels and liquid/powder systems are safe when used per manufacturer 
instructions and “neither” will harm the natural nail when properly applied, maintained 
and removed by trained professionals. 
• Remember, wearing any type of enhancement or coating can lead to nail damage IF the 
nail technician improperly applies the nail coating or if they (or their clients) improperly 
remove them. Nail enhancement and other nail coating products are safe for the natural 
nail if properly applied, maintained and removed. No type of artificial nail is safer or better 
for the natural nail than another. If nail damage occurs while wearing enhancements, this is 
usually a result of over-filing or other improper application or removal procedures. To 
prevent this, nail professionals should educate themselves about how to work in a manner
that protects the natural nail from damage.

Myth 4: Nail coatings are bad for the nails.

• This is NOT correct. Nail coatings don’t harm the nail plate and any nail damage is usually a 
result of improper application and/or removal. If the nail plate underneath the 
enhancement is much thinner than the area of new nail growth, this strongly indicates 
excessive filing with a manual or electric file. Overly aggressive filing causes the majority of 
nail plate damage seen in salons. This isn’t done just in discount salons, it happens even in 
high end salons and is indicative of an improperly trained nail professional.
• If upon removal the plates are not any thinner, but feel like they are overly flexible, this 
does NOT indicate the nails are “weaker”. Instead, this is a temporary effect created by an 
increased moisture content of the nail plate. Nail coatings increase the moisture content 
of the plate by 10-15% and this can last up to 12-24 hours after coating removal; after which the moisture content returns to normal, as will the nail plate’s normal level of 
• When the nail surface is covered with dry looking white patches, this is usually due to 
improper removal, e.g. scraping or peeling nail coatings from the nail plate. Soaking the 
natural nail for even a few minutes in acetone or water will temporarily soften the surface 
making it temporarily more susceptible to damage from wooden or metal implements that 
pry, push or force the remaining residual nail coatings from the nail plate. Instead, a good 
rule to follow is, “Use the utmost care for 60 minutes after immersing natural nails in any 
liquid for more than 60 seconds.”
• Other damage, e.g. onycholysis, is also usually caused by improper filing or removal 
techniques. For more information on avoiding nail damage see, “Don’t Let This Happen to 
Your Clients”,
• Infections do occur, but they are relatively uncommon and can be easily avoided by 
practicing proper cleaning and disinfection. For more information see “Guidelines for 
Cleaning Manicuring Equipment”,
• The facts are, when artificial enhancements or coatings are carefully and properly applied, 
maintained, and removed by a trained, skilled, and knowledgeable nail professional-they 
will not cause nail damage! The vast majority of damaged nail plates are caused by 
improper use- over filing and/or scraping the nail plate to remove products or by client nail 
abuse, e.g. picking or prying off nail coatings.

Myth 5- Medications cause artificial nails to lose adhesion and lift.

• In general, taking a medication for a month or two isn’t going to affect adhesion of artificial 
nails or coatings to the nail plates. The same is true for birth control or other over-thecounter (OTC) medications. These aren’t likely to adversely affect the nail plate, either. 
Generally when people are taking medications over a long term, it is because their body 
isn’t functioning normally. It is more likely that their illness is what's affecting the nails, not 
the medication. The health of the natural nail is often a window into the health of the 
• Chemotherapy is often given for long periods and is an example of medications that can 
adversely affect the natural nail and may contribute to adhesion loss. OTC medicines and 
other types of medications taken for short periods (e.g. antibiotics) are unlikely to cause 
adhesion loss.
• Anesthetic given during surgery is sometimes blamed for nail problems. Since many people 
are leery of medication of any type, they jump to this conclusion quickly. Even so, it is FAR 
more likely that nail growth would be affected by the accident/illness and/or the fact the 
body is in recovery from surgery. • In short, nail techsshould NOT suspect medications until all other potential sources of the 
problem have been investigated and ruled out. Medications are RARELY the cause of 
artificial nail adhesion loss. Keep in mind that these problems may also be caused by 
something the client is doing, e.g. a sudden lifestyle change. 

Myth 6- Vitamins and nutrients absorb into the nail to make them stronger and healthier.

• As described above, vitamins or nutrients can NOT be fed to the nail plate externally and in 
many countries it is not legal to make such claims. Vitamins and/or nutrients only make nail 
plates stronger or healthier when they are ingested in foods and delivered to the nail via 
the blood stream. In the US and other places, it is against the law for a cosmetic to claim to 
provide nutritional benefits or value. Only foods can provide nutrition to the body, not 
• To be clear, some nail oils use “vitamin E”, but its function is NOT for nutritional purposes
or strengthening. The proper cosmetic label name for Vitamin E is “tocopherol”. 
Tocopherol or one of its related derivatives (e.g.tocopherol acetate)is used as an 
antioxidant to help protect the nail plate keratin from damage caused by environmental 
exposure (e.g. cleaners, hand washing, gardening). As long as no nutritional benefits are 
claimed, this is an appropriate cosmetic claim since there is strong science to support 
Vitamin E’s antioxidant abilities, 

Myth 7-Nail oil applied directly to a fresh nail enhancement will cause lifting.

• This is false, when the enhancement is properly applied; if not properly applied then this 
can be true. When properly applied, artificial nail coatings form a tight seal with the nail 
plate, therefore nail oils cannot get underneath the coating to cause separation and lifting. 
The benefit of these natural oils is that they can penetrate into the surface of the nail 
enhancement to increase the nail coating’s flexibility and durability. Penetrating nail oils 
should be applied daily, to keep the enhancement flexible and beautiful and to condition 
the surrounding living tissue. If the artificial nail enhancement was improperly applied, 
there may be small areas of pre-existing separation between the coating and the nail plate 
(delamination). When this occurs, nail oils may seep underneath the coating to cause 
lifting. Even so, there are clear and significant benefits to using nail oils on natural nails and 
artificial nail coatings. If their use leads to increased lifting of the enhancements, don’t 
discontinue use of the nail oil. Instead, carefully reexamine your techniques and ensure you 
are performing careful and proper nail preparation, including nail surface cleansing and 
properly applying and curing the nail enhancement or coating products.

Myth 8- MMA is dangerous and that is why it shouldn’t be used to make artificial nails.

• This is false! Methyl methacrylate monomer (MMA) is used all around the world for dental 
prosthetics, contact lenses, and is even implanted into the body as a bone cement, so the 
effect of exposure to humans is well understood. MMA is NOT considered to be a cancercausing agent nor does it damage unborn fetuses. These are myths! Even so, there are 
several reasons to avoid MMA monomer as a nail coating.
• MMA nail products do not adhere well to the nail plate, so nail technicians must shred the 
surface of the nail plate with an abrasive, coarse grit file, causing thinning and weakening in 
order to ensure the enhancements adhere to the nail plate. Traditional products are 
designed to adhere to the natural nail plate withoutthe need to over file the nail plate.
• MMA creates the hardest and most rigid nail enhancements. So, they are very difficult to 
break. If jammed or caught, the overly filed and thinned natural nail plate is much more 
likely to break than the MMA enhancement. This can lead to serious nail damage and 
possible subsequent bacterial infection. 
• MMA enhancements are extremely difficult to remove, because of the filing techniques 
used to make them adhere and because they don’t easily dissolve in product removers. 
Therefore, MMA enhancements are usually pried from the nail plate, creating still more 
damage to the overly thinned nail plate. 
• The information above applies ONLY to MMA monomer. Powders containing MMA should 
really be called PMMA (poly methyl methacrylate). PMMA has completely different 
chemical structure/properties and is considered safe for use in artificial nails. PMMA in a 
sheet form is called Plexiglas™ and Lucite™. For more factual information see “MMA 

Myth 9: You should wear a mask when you do nails.

• False, if you are working with a source capture ventilation system (SCV); you don’t want or 
need to use a face mask. Even a high quality, properly fitting N-95 dust mask won’t work as 
well as a source capture ventilation system. Why? When properly fitted, an N-95 dust 
mask WILL protect against inhalation of tiny airborne dust particles, but NOT vapors. SCV 
systems prevent exposure by collecting both dusts and vapors- keeping both out of the nail 
technician’s breathing zone and salon air. 
• When properly maintained and the carbon filters are changed regularly, SCV systems are a 
great way to help ensure salon air quality remains safe and everyone is breathing 
comfortably during working hours. Several dust collecting systems are great too and in 
general, I do recommend their use in salons. Even so, dust collection systems should be 
used in conjunction with another ventilation system which lowers exposure to vapors. 
Both dusts and vapors must be properly controlled. SVC systems do both, which is why I 
fully support their use in salons.

Myth 10: Nail technicians don’t need to learn about the science behind natural and artificial nails.

• What? That’s ridiculous; the biggest myth of them all! The best artists know their paints
and canvas, just as sculptors know their chisels and stones and a master woodworker could 
tell you all the intricacies of wood. Wouldn’t it benefit any nail technicians to have a deeper 
understanding of the natural nail and nail products? Understanding both the anatomy and 
microscopic structure of the nail plate is necessary for anyone who provides nailservices.
Image what you could do if you understood the science behind nail products and how they 
all work? Well, you can! It’s not hard, in fact it is easy and absolutely fascinating! Want to learn more? Here’s how you can start your journey of learning

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