1. Athlete's Foot
Client: Is there a lotion you can recommend for my feet? My skin is so dry it’s cracking. Should I call my doctor? Isn’t that a bit excessive?
You: Yes, I can see it’s red and flaking. You should visit a doctor to check if it’s just dry skin or something else. Sometimes we mistake athlete’s foot and eczema for dry skin. It could be a condition that needs treatment stronger than moisturizer. If it’s athlete’s foot, that’s a fungal infection. It can worsen, which is something you will want to avoid. Athlete’s foot can spread, which can put your family members and my other clients at risk. Better to know that you are treating your skin for the correct condition than hoping that what you’re doing is effective.
2. Product Allergy
Client: A couple days after my last appointment, my cuticles itched so bad! I saw little blisters around my nails! I’ve been getting my nails done for five years. I’m not allergic to the product.
You: Actually, a person can develop a sensitivity to a product at any time — even if they never had a reaction to it before. Since we don’t know what you are reacting to, I’m going to give you a natural nail manicure instead of a fill (or gel-polish). I’m going to use polish that is free of DBP, formaldehyde, and toluene. Don’t worry, I will make your nails look beautiful. I recommend you see a dermatologist. She may be able to determine what you are allergic to.
3. Cutting Cuticle
Client: I heard that my cuticles shouldn’t be cut because I’ll get an infection. So please don’t cut anything today.
You: There is a difference between the cuticle and the eponychium. The cuticle is the thin, transparent skin that lies on top of the nail plate. It is dead skin that was once part of the eponychium but has pulled away and still clings to the nail. It is not connected to your nail bed and thus is safe to remove gently. The eponychium is the living skin that frames the base of the nail. It serves as a protective barrier and should never be pushed or cut. Watch me as I show you the difference.
4. White Spots on the nails
Client: What are these white spots on my nails? Are they dangerous?
You: Usually these white spots are the result of a minor trauma to the nail matrix; they are called leukonycia. If you bite your nails, or if you bang your nail against something hard, white spots will form and then grow out with your nail. Sometimes they may indicate a health problem but in that case you would have white spots on many nails and in the same areas. But if you start to notice other health problems then show your doctor the white spots; our nails often indicate that there are internal problems. For now, let’s give you a beautiful manicure and keep an eye on your nails.
5. UV Light Exposure
Client: I don’t want to get gel nails because I’ve heard that UV lamps are dangerous.
You: There was a study that in a dermatology journal that tested the effects of 10 minutes under a UV lamp and concluded that UV light exposure does not increase the risk of cancers like basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma. But if you are worried we can do a couple of things. We can coat your hands with 30 SPF sunscreen, which will protect them, or we can put your hands in fingerless gloves before you go under the lamp. I also have a gel- polish that cures quickly under an LED light instead of a UV light. How do these options sound to you?
6. Best Nail Shape
Client: I’m a nail biter, I’d like to wear a stiletto nails with art for my upcoming party. Is it possible?
You: I know you have your heart set on long nails for your event, but I think you’ll be disappointed with that choice. Your natural nails aren’t long enough to provide a secure base for a long extension. Typically, we suggest an enhancement be no longer than double the length of a natural nail. When the natural nail is present there, it forms a strong sidewall, enhancements are more secure, and we see very few broken nails. However, your nail is below the free edge. That means your nails have a higher risk of breaking. Your best shape right now is square so we can build sidewalls for strength, but we’ll soften the tip. Round, oval, and almond shapes are usually safe for anyone, but they don’t provide as strong of a sidewall, which is why I don’t suggest them for you today. You’ll eventually be able to shape your nails any way you’d like, but for now let’s pick the softened square to make sure you have the best success.
7. Polish Stays Longer
Client: My polish never stays on. Well, is there anything we can do to make it better?
You: It’s difficult to maintain a natural-nail manicure when the hands are in water so frequently. First, make sure you wear gloves while you garden or clean or soak in water. Start with a liner of cotton gloves and then wear rubber gloves over them. The cotton against your skin reduces the amount you sweat, which keeps your nails dry. Second, I suggest you try a long-lasting polish or a gel-polish. I’ve already tried adding a bonder to keep the traditional polish on longer and that doesn’t seem to be working. Let’s try these other products to see if they will hold up better. I’ll also send you home with a bottle of top coat and cuticle oil. Apply these every day. It often extends the life of a manicure. If none of these makes a big difference, let’s try an enhancement coating over your natural nails. If you come in for regular maintenance every two weeks, I think that would work well for you.