Nails 911

Having a nail emergency? Keep calm—everything is going to be alright! Whether you've peeled a gel manicure off your nails, or read a scary story about nail salon cleanliness, we're here to put your worries at ease. We've included our thoughts (based on clinical research, facts, and our our own professional expertise) on some of the most common topics and problems when it comes to nails.

I picked off my gel manicure. Have I ruined my nails?

In short: no. Don't worry. Nails are complex things and the thickness of the nail plate (what we commonly refer to simply as the "nail") varies among individuals. Nails are comprised of full keratinized, flattened cells which is a scientific mouthful but basically means that there are many layers that make up your nails. Improper gel removal—whether from picking off your manicure or visiting salons with intensive gel removal techniques—can thin the nail plate over time, leading to weakened or brittle nails. If you've been naughty and picked your gel manicure off, it's important you, 1) not do it again!, and 2) keep your nails moisturized using a cuticle oil or other hydrating product for nails. And here's some news to cheer you up: as your nails grow, the new nail will be fully healthy. Any damage you may have done to nails is completely reversible as new nail grows in.

My nails won't seem to grow. They always break.

This is a concern we hear from many clients. There are several things you can do to help your nails grow. First, consider switching to a rounded shape from square. A rounded tip absorbs impact better and you're less likely to end up with snags and breaks on your edges when wearing a rounded, oval, or almond shape. Second, moisturize! This is one of the most important things you can do for your nails on a daily basis. Using a cuticle oil like Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil or CND Solar Oil (links below) works wonders for dry, brittle nails. 

I'm afraid to try gel manicures because I've heard that they cause cancer.

This is a big concern for many clients and there are many misconceptions regarding lamps used to cure gel polish. First, Paintbox only uses LED bulbs in our lamps—not the more powerful bulbs seen in traditional UV lamps. A small amount of UV is emitted from LED lights (and from all lightbulbs, even those in your home), however the total is a mere fraction of what is emitted from traditional UV lamps. Second, many studies have grossly overestimated the amount of UV emitted from these lamps. A recent study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that salon-goers would have to undertake weekly manicures under LED light for 250 years before the risk of skin cancer would be increased from UV radiation.

I love getting manicures but a recent article I read made me worry about salon hygiene. I don't want to catch anything funky from the salon.

At Paintbox, we approach hygiene from many different angles. We use a state-of-the-art, dry-heat autoclave to sanitize tools and we never reuse unsterilized files or other implements as they do in many other salons. Reusable tools are sanitized and wherever possible we use brand new and single-use items like buffers, mascara wands (for our signature nail cleansing technique) and more. Additionally, you may have noticed we only offer dry manicures. Moisture provides a breeding ground for bacteria which is one reason we skip the dip and soak you may have experienced at other salons. And your health and safety is not the only perk—polish adheres better to completely dry nails so your manicure lasts longer.

Have additional concerns about your nails? We're here to help. Give us a ring, shoot us an email, or talk with your manicurist next time you're in the chair. We're as committed to educating our client on nail health as we are providing you with gorgeous, wearable art so don't be shy about asking us for advice. 

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