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What Does Nail Décor Do to Nail Health?

There are many creative ways to decorate nails and many preparations to do so: nail polish, gel polish hybrid, gel nails, or acrylic nail powders, for example. A recent study looked at the effects of applying these substances to the nail plate and the changes in pH of the nail as a result.

Healthy nails are typically pink, smooth and shiny. When the nail plate is damaged the nails become fragile, cracked, brittle, and discolored, and the pH changes to be more basic. An acidic pH helps the nail and skin be protected from damaging external factors. The authors looked at both nail changes and pH levels from application of substances to both prepare nails for decoration and the decorations themselves to determine their effects of pH and nail quality. The authors recruited about 120 volunteers who answered questions about their use of nail polishes and gels. The second step involved about 70 participants whose nails were evaluated to characterize the effect of nail polish, gel polish hybrid, gel nail, and acrylic nail powder and the removal of these formulas on the nail.

The results showed that both methods used to get nails ready for decoration and all the methods of removing the preparations damaged healthy nail plates. The extent of the damage depends on the method used, and is most commonly brittleness and nail splitting. The use of gel polish hybrid, gel nail, and acrylic nail powders lead to the biggest rise in pH change. These preparations caused the pH value of nail plates to rise above 6.0, which may be associated with susceptibility to infection and a greater tendency to have nail injury. Traditional nail polish and gel polish hybrids are the most popular for nail decoration. The application of traditional nail polish seemed potentially less damaging, resulting in a normal pH level of 5.8.

Overall, these preparations (and the mechanisms to remove them) all had negative influence on the nail plates. Participants were eager to take a break from nail decorations after seeing what the effects were to their nails.


Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Posted: April 1, 2019

Source: Wiley Online
Adapted from the original article.

[Image: robuart /]