6 Dangers to Nail Beauty Products

Cosmetics, Skin Care

red bottle of nail polish

It seems like everyone loves to pamper their nails. So much so that in 2011 over 6 BILLION dollars were spent on nail services! We’re not just talking about nail laquer and polish remover, but also acrylic nails, adhesive nail color strips, and any other product or service that aims to beautify the nails. Regular use is not a problem as long as safe and proper techniques are used. But overuse and abuse can lead to various side effects. We shed a light on six of them:

Nail and Cuticle Dryness

Dryness of the nail and the surrounding skin is easily the most common and irritating consequence of nail polish remover. To minimize this problem, try limiting the use of nail polish remover to no more than once a week. This seems to help many people. Applying a moisturizer immediately afterwards also really helps alleviating the dryness.

Nail Color Change

Stained nails (source: http://nailedit1.blogspot.com/2012/10/introducing-nail-polish-that-ruined-my.html)
Stained nails (source: http://nailedit1.blogspot.com/2012/10/introducing-nail-polish-that-ruined-my.html)

The yellowish discoloration associated with long-term use of nail polishes is also a common problem. This can be avoided by applying a base coat before the nail color.

Nail Weakness

This can result from any process that requires thinning the nails, applying abrasive materials, or occluding them for a prolonged time.

Adhesive nail color strips block normal water loss, and with prolonged use the nails can become soft.

Acrylic and sculptured nails, if not applied by an experienced professional, can cause nail shape changes, or nail loss altogether (although this happens quite rarely). The bond between artificial and real nail may be stronger than the bond between the real nail and the nail bed (the skin the nail rests on), which may lead to loosening of the real nail.

Filing down the nail surface, either to get rid of ridges or to prepare them for artificial nails, thins the nails excessively and weakens them, and can lead to nail splitting.

Nail Infection

Paronychia (infection of the skin around the nails)
Paronychia (infection of the skin around the nails)

Pushing back cuticles should never be done. The cuticles seal the area between the nail and the skin, and pushing them back breaks that seal and makes access easer for infection. Yet for some, cuticles can extend too much for their taste. In that case the best practice is daily soaking following by gently rubbing them.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reaction to nail care products (source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674900941897)
Allergic reaction to nail care products (source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674900941897)

Allergies can result from almost every product used for nails, but most notably cuticle dissolvers, acrylic nail primers, glues, and nail lacquers. The allergic reaction can be seen around the nails, or in areas where the nails come in contact, like the skin of the neck, or any place that nails can scratch.

Bottom Line

Taking care of nails is a delightful experience, and it usually yields beautiful results. Finding an experienced professional, and avoiding practices that can harm the nails will ensure the benefits without suffering the side effects.

Enjoy! And thank you for reading.

On a personal note, my schedule has changed recently and has become a bit hectic. I’ve had to reduce my posts to every second Wednesday. But I am finding myself missing being on FutureDerm, and I am not getting to read all the wonderful articles by all the other writers either (thought I try to catch up on weekends)! Hopefully, I will be able to return back to my old weekly schedule in the future, but for now, I will have to miss you guys a bit! See you in a couple of weeks.


R. Baran, J. Andre. Side Effects of Nail Cosmetics. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 2005; 4 (3): 204-9.

J. Jefferson, P. Rich. Update on Nail Cosmetics. Dermatologic Therapy 2012; 25 (6): 481-90.

E. Brauer, R. Baran. Cosmetics: The Care and Adornment of the Nail. In: Diseases of the Nails and their Management. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing 2001; 358-69.

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