Are your nails healthy? Be aware of nail diseases.
Are your nails healthy? Be aware of nail diseases.
  • Philip Choi
  • 승인 2021.11.25 11:54
  • 댓글 0
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Nail art is popular among women for relaxation and stress relief, has become a fashion item with various types of style, such as various decorations and fluorescent manicure. When the summer season comes to wear sandals, people have pedicures on their toenails to show own individuality. Manicure for nails and pedicure for toenails look good but is it good enough for nail health?

What is health nail?

1. Structural conditions

The nail plate has a normal thickness and color and is strong and adheres well to the nail bed. The thickness of a normal nail for adult female is each 0.5mm, 1.3~1.4mm. Every month, the nail grows about 3mm and toenail, about 1.5mm. The nail matrix is the place that normally grows these nails, and if this place is damaged, normal nails can not grow until they are recovered, so permanent nail deformation can occur.

2. Content of nail

1) Moisture

Moisture content is very important to talk about nail health. It is known the nail moisture content rate within the normal range is about 10~15%. If the moisture content rate is lower than this, the nail becomes dry and cracks. If it is excessive, the possibility of eczema on the nail increase. It looks simple but nails are also part of the skin, so health or external environment affect nail conditions.

2) Keratin
Nails are made up of a protein called ‘Keratin’. If the nails become wetting and drying repeatedly for a long time due to the low or high moisture content, the connection between the keratins is loosened, leading to brittleness and cracking. Repeated or prolonged manicure or pedicure affects the moisture content of the nail is harmful to the health of the nail.

We can check nail health with the ‘moisture contents’ of the nail. The normal moisture content is about 10-15%, and if it is lower than this, it is easily cracked or torn. If it is excessive, eczema occurs on the nail. (The image is not related to the content of the article)
We can check nail health with the ‘moisture contents’ of the nail. The normal moisture content is about 10-15%, and if it is lower than this, it is easily cracked or torn. If it is excessive, eczema occurs on the nail. (The image is not related to the content of the article)

Risks of nail art

Gel manicures last longer than regular manicures. Gel manicures are popular, but it can be even more harmful to the nails. Gel manicures require the process of baking and hardening in an ultraviolet lamp. During the process, you are exposed to unnecessary ultraviolet rays, and the powerful exclusive remover used to remove the nail gives strong stimulation.

Dr. Jong Yeop Kim, founder of Timeless Dermatologic Clinic, Mapo Branch, said, “It is known that the ultraviolet rays during gel manicure are 40% stronger than the ultraviolet rays on a daily basis. The nails are also part of skin, repeated exposure to strong ultraviolet rays may occur skin cancer. In fact, in the United States, it has been reported that melanoma(skin cancer) has occurred in women who have used gel manicures for a long time. Also, removing regular manicures are easy with a remover but gel manicures are removed using a special remover that is stronger than a regular remover. At this moment, the strong volatility of acetone, the main ingredient of the remover, affects the moisture content and even cause chemical damage, and disrupting the connection between keratins.”

What are the diseases that can be caused by nail art?

1. Hapalonychia

Hapalonychia is a condition in which the nail plate becomes thinner due to a lack of keratin, and the nails bend and break more easily than usual. Hapalonychia is mostly caused by external stimuli rather than caused by a disease. Including nail art, too much contact with water, biting nails, etc. may predispose hapalonychia.

2. Onycholysis

If external stimulation continues under hapalonychia, the color of nail changes and the nail plate completely separates from the nail bed, resulting in ‘Onycholysis’. When the nail is separated from the skin, bacteria, fungus and virus an penetrate through it, leading to secondary infection.

3. Paronychia

Paronycia, also called whilow, is a disease in which the area around the fingernails and toenails swells and erythema occurs, and a feeling of heat is felt. In severe cases, it is accompanied by pain and yellow-pus-filled pustules. Paronychia occurs when bacteria penetrate through cracks in the flesh. During nail polish, while managing cuticles and hangnails, or cutting the nail at home, the surrounding flesh may be torn off.

Nail disease that can be caused by nail art include hapalonychia, onycholysis and paronychia. (This image is not related to the content of the article)
Nail disease that can be caused by nail art include hapalonychia, onycholysis and paronychia. (This image is not related to the content of the article)

How to treat nail diseases

The fundamental treatment for Hapalonychia and Onycholysis is to not stimulate any more. It is good not to do nail polish often, and not to wash hands too often or to dry them too much because the moisture content must be maintained properly. Moisturizing is important to strengthen the connection between keratins, applying a hand moisturizer from time to time helps to prevent splitting or cracking nails.

Paronychia has high potential to be accompanied by bacterial infection, antibiotic ointment or antibiotics are sometimes taken when symptoms develop, and the pus must be extruded when it is full. If the pus is left, the pain many continue, and the symptoms may worsen. It can be treated quickly with making a hole in the area and extruding the pus, applying the medicine well. If you want to clean the hangnails, it is better to do it little by little using scissors or nail clippers rather than biting it with your hands or teeth. Before that, it is necessary to correct the habit of biting nails or hangnails.

Dr. Kim advises that providing your nails time to rest regularly can help maintain healthy nails.
Dr. Kim advises that providing your nails time to rest regularly can help maintain healthy nails.

Doctor’s Advice

To prevent nail disease, it is best not to have nail art, but if you want, it is good to have resting time to your nails.

Dr. Kim advised, “If you do nail art, it would be good to do it with an limited time. If possible, do not continue nail art for more than a week, and if you do nail art for a week, do not do anything on your nails and rest for the next week. Periodically time to rest on your nails can help maintain healthy nails.”


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