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How to work with problematic nails?

10 problems and their solutions

Customers are different, and not only in terms of communication. It is essential to understand that not every clients` hands will be equally beautiful and well-groomed when you work with nails. And to create beauty is the task of the nail stylist! Girls go for a manicure so that their nails look amazing, so it is so important for a real pro to be able to cope with various problems.

We have prepared a brief guide on what problems and diseases of nails exist, which is shown and contraindicated in the specific condition of the nail plate and whether manicure can aggravate the situation.



If you give a self-manicure at home, do not self-medicate. Consult a specialized doctor to find out the cause of nail problems, because a sloppy procedure can only aggravate the situation!


PROBLEM 1. Separation of nails

Is that a familiar story when the nail plate seems to peel off, and sometimes the client can even expressly peel off the nail layer with varnish?  Phew, goosebumps. But many people are faced with this situation. Someone has the nails peeling off is a seasonal phenomenon, and someone this problem has haunted them whole life.

As it usually happens, there is no single reason. Nails may exfoliate due to:

  • Frequent contact of hands with water;
  • Psoriasis and other autoimmune skin diseases;
  • Unbalanced nutrition and micronutrient deficiency (mainly calcium, magnesium, iron, sulfur and zinc);
  • Systematic injuries;
  • Genetics.

And although the influence of the last paragraph is difficult to ignore, you can help the client improve the condition of the nails.

Good results are shown by treatment systems, for example, IBX.  The components of therapeutic varnish strengthen the nail plate, deeply nourish and gradually restore as the damaged areas grow together.But this system is available in beauty salons, but at home, we recommend daily applying healing oil on the nails from delamination. It is also necessary to carry out cleaning and gardening work with protective gloves.

In the offseason, it is important to provide the body with vitamins and minerals. If the shortage is great, you should consult a doctor and consult about taking enriched drugs.

PROBLEM 2. Fragility of nails

The situation when the nails break at the most inopportune moment (or even grow very reluctantly) is also familiar to many. Such nails require constant care.

The causes of fragility are also many:

  • Excessive use of tools to strengthen the plates;
  • Illiterate care;
  • Frequent nails extension with filling off the top layer;
  • Constant contact with water and detergents;
  • Contact with chemicals and solvents based on acids and alkalis, which corrode the structure of the plates;
  • Lack of vitamins A, D, E, calcium, selenium, zinc, iron;
  • Diseases of the digestive tract or cardiovascular system (anemia, diabetes mellitus).
  • Stress.

In salon conditions, we recommend procedures using hot oil baths, massage, paraffin therapy.Fragile nails need to be filed with a special tool – a laser nail file, its abrasive layer is more gentle.

In decorative manicure, it is important to first apply a protective agent, and then a coating. The caoutchouc base, bio gel, and gel for extensions strengthen the nails well. Cracks can be “repaired” with silk or fiberberglass.

To care for fragile nails at home, use hot oil and salt baths. Firming oil will help: apply daily. And do not forget about gloves when in contact with water, detergents and chemicals.

PROBLEM 3. Nail biting

“Onychophagia” – so in a smart way, called the habit of biting your nails and cuticles. Unlike other problems, there is a psychological reason.This can be considered as self-reassuring behavior when a person, biting his nails, enters into a trance and is distracted from an alarming situation. Onychophagia also can be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder when a person is trying to cope with intrusive thoughts via the “favorite” ritual.

The problem of nails biting is not only in their unaesthetic appearance. Damaged nails and cuticles become open gates for microorganisms, which means that the risk of inflammation increases.

In salon conditions, the use of bitter varnish, as well as nail extension procedures, will help. Artificial material is stronger and able to protect natural plates.

Nail stylist should consider that bitten nails grow faster, and more moisture and fat is released during growth. This can lead to exfoliation of the plate. You will need good dehydration and the use of proven primers before applying artificial material.

At home, bitter varnish will help, the use of oil to restore the plates. But it is worth remembering that since the problem is psychological, then it is up to the mental health specialist to solve it. Without understanding where this habit came from and what it gives, all these activities will be temporary and only partially effective.

PROBLEM 4. Yellow nails

The nail plate should normally be pinkish, with white holes. The appearance of a yellowish tint may be associated with:

  • Liver problems;
  • The use of aggressive chemicals and detergents;
  • Smoking;
  • The use of acetone, low-quality varnishes, and  expired nail care products; 
  • Fungal infection;
  • Psoriasis

Sometimes “yellow nail syndrome” is isolated into a separate diagnosis – dystrophic onychia.This is a trophic disease of the nail matrix.It occurs due to severe infections, intoxication of the body, diseases of the nervous and endocrine system. In addition to yellowness, spots, depressions and transverse stripes appear on the nails.

In the salon, the stylist should use a dense base or camouflage gel to cover to hide the color.. You can also recommend that the client undergo a medical examination if yellowness is a symptom of the disease. 

At home, contact with chemicals should be excluded, gloves should be worn. Soda-salt baths and hydrogen peroxide will help whiten the plates.

PROBLEM 5. Fungal infection

We already wrote about this controversial disease, when infection and manifestation are not the same thing. You can do manicure or pedicure to a healthy (seemingly) client, but not know that he is a carrier of a fungal infection.

This disease manifests itself only with a decrease in local immunity, and from the moment of infection to the onset of the first symptoms it can take from two weeks to a year!  Therefore, nail stylist is so important ALWAYS and in any situation to comply with safety rules:

  1. Sterilize the instrument, and do not neglect all stages of sterilization;
  2. Store the disinfected tool in a craft bag;
  3. Wear clean gloves;
  4. Use a tool with a disposable abrasive: nail files, graters and discs for pedicure;
  5. Keep clean at the workplace;
  6. Disinfect your client’s hands and arms with an antiseptic;
  7. Give the client a personal brush and buff set.

As for the procedure at home, everything is simple: you need to have a personal set of tools and disinfect them after use. Children should have their own nail scissors, like every member of the family.

PROBLEM 6. Dimples on the nails

They can have different diameters and depths, are arranged in even rows, or randomly. There are several reasons:

  • Pathology of the spleen;
  • Psoriasis;
  • Incorrect removal of decorative coating or building materials;
  • Fungus infection;
  • Injury and exposure to chemicals.

But only a doctor can make an accurate diagnosis, given the presence of additional symptoms.

A nail stylist in the salon can use a leveling coating for varnish: caoutchouc base, bio gel, gel or acrylic, polygel.

At home, for the care of dimpled nails, it is recommended to use hot oil baths, iodine applications, nourishing and regenerating oils.

PROBLEM 7. Burrs or periungual cracks

Burrs are tears in the skin of the cuticle and nail walls. They cause pain, discomfort, often bleed and look ugly.

The burrs can lead to periungual skin cracks. This is an ideal entry for bacterial and fungal infections.

Causes of burrs:

  • Dry skin and plates;
  • Frequent contact with water and chemicals;
  • Sensitive skin;
  • Biting nails (onychophagia); 
  • Incorrect cuticle cutting, blunt manicure tools;
  • The difference in environmental temperature in the offseason. 

In the salon, a nail stylist can offer hot oil bath procedures, as well as cold or hot paraffin therapy.It is also important to use a professional tool for classic manicure. The perfectly sharp working edges of the nippers or scissor blades (merit of manual sharpening under the microscope!) Provide a neat cut and prevent the appearance of burrs.

At home, we recommend wearing protective gloves, using nutritious cuticle oil twice a day. Make masks with a nourishing and protective cream for the night.

PROBLEM 8. Onycholysis

Nail stylists know not by hearsay what it is.  The nails visually look unaesthetic: the “smile” of the protruding edge of the nail plate is not even and smoothly rounded, but torn, “spreading” almost along the entire nail.

The causes of this disease:

  • Damage, undermining of the nail;
  • Exfoliation and spalls of extended materials that “pull” a natural plate along with them;
  • Failure to comply with the technology of building and coating with gel polish and other long-term materials;
  • Remaking artificial cover, untimely correction;
  • Human papillomavirus;
  • Cardiovascular and endocrine diseases;
  • Fungus and bacterial infections;
  • Psoriasis, eczema, allergies.

Also, onycholysis can be completely eliminated only in 30-40% of cases, especially if the disease affects all nails. We will have to additionally treat other concomitant diseases, consult doctors of other specialties. Nails are a manifestation of an internal imbalance, and the problem can lie much deeper.

In the conditions of a nail salon, a nail stylist performs peeling correction, removes the free edge and performs building-up with artificial material (if the reason is over-coating).

It’s worth talking about tact.  Onycholysis is not always a fungus. More precisely, even the probability that it was the fungus that provoked onycholysis is equal to the probability that any other disease can be the cause.

Onycholysis often becomes the cause of complexes at the client.  Listening to impolite questions and contempt for yourself is far from the most enjoyable task, especially if the client has already “burned” and received onycholysis just because of an incompetent master. Approach this issue carefully – if you understand that you cannot work with such nails, tell the client about this honestly, but without going personal.

If the condition is serious, refer the client to the doctor TACTFULLY. He must choose the medications, including for the internal correction of the balance of vitamins and minerals.

The client may need treating for fungus and bacterial infections.You can not “seal” them under a layer of artificial coating, so as not to aggravate the problem. At home, you can not undermine the focus of exfoliation, you need to see a doctor when hinting at a fungus or infection, cut off your nails briefly and wear protective gloves during cleaning.

PROBLEM 9. Stripes and tubercles on the nails

The disease is called leukonychia. -and sometimes transverse and longitudinal tubercles form together with stripes. Reasons for the appearance:

  • The impact of materials for building and prolonged wearing of artificial nails;
  • The notches that occurred after hardware manicure;
  • Damage to the growth zone or matrix with hardware or cutting manicure or with nail extension;
  • Diseases of the central nervous system; 
  • Hereditary predisposition;
  • Age-related changes in the structure of the plates;
  • Disorders of the endocrine system;
  • Cardiovascular diseases;
  • Circulatory problems;
  • Impaired metabolism, unbalanced nutrition;
  • Fungus;
  • Psoriasis;
  • Stress

A concomitant disease must be diagnosed by a doctor in order to find the appropriate treatment.

Nail stylist in the salon can recommend the client to undergo examination, and for correction use self-leveling varnishes and bases, bio gel, structuring or camouflage gel for coating.

At home, the same alignment systems will help to visually adjust the strips or tubercles: bio gel, caoutchouc base, or dense gel polish, shellac.

PROBLEM 10. Cracking of nails, mechanical damage

Nails may crack due to excessive mechanical injuries or physical exertion. Other causes of cracking:

  • Excessive length;
  • Untimely correction of the shape and length of artificial plates;
  • Filling the plate in the area of the side rollers and the fold line;
  • Very dry plates;
  • The wrong architecture of the artificial nail during nail extension.

In the salon, the nail stylist will correct the shape, length, architecture of the plate, give advice on the restoration of nails, if the crack went beyond the free edge. Correction usually consists of removing or filling a crack and then applying a reinforcing layer or building up a new artificial plate.

At home, cut off the cracked area with scissors or forceps and file it to remove sharp edges. Care is also indicated with regenerating oils and firming coatings.

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