Top 10 talon tales

With manicures hitting newspaper headlines for all the wrong reasons recently, PB asks the industry for the truth behind the nail myths 

Infections, damaged nail beds, rashes and even skin cancer are just some of the scare stories that came out in the consumer press last year, claiming a manicure could ruin your nails. Despite these inaccuracies, the nail industry continues to grow and develop with new treatments, product formulations and campaigns from industry bodies such as Babtac and Habia for tighter industry regulations. We asked some of the industry’s major brands and educators about the biggest nail myths they’ve heard, and how to separate fact from fiction.  

1 MYTH: nails need to breathe
Nails do not need a break from polish or enhancements to breathe. Just as you moisturise your face or condition your hair, nails should always be covered as the polish adds extra strength and protection. As well as protecting the nail, a treatment-based polish will nurture the natural nail and help it to grow. 
Susan Gerrard, chairman of Gerrard International, distributor of Jessica and Geleration

2 MYTH: enhancements ruin natural nails 
Today’s nail products are advanced and don’t require the technician to damage natural nails during application, maintenance or removal. If pain, discomfort, or thinned or damaged nails are experienced, it’s most likely due to a nail technician mis-step. Picking, chewing, or mistreating your enhancements could also lead to this. 
Sam Watkinson, director of education, Louella Belle

nail myths calcium

3 MYTH: white spots show lack of calcium
Leukonychia, more commonly known as white spots on your nails, doesn’t indicate a calcium deficiency. White spots are common and harmless, and are most likely signs of trauma to the nail plate or the matrix. Just like folding a piece of clear plastic leaves a white spot, so does pressure or trauma to the nail. You will find children have more white spots than adults. 
Sam Biddle, nail technician, educator and founder of Be Creative and Original Sugar

4 MYTH: gel is better than acrylic 
It is a common misconception that gel is healthier than acrylic for creating enhancements. Both are made from the same chemical family. The main difference, other than wearability, application technique and the polymerisation process, is how each is removed. Acrylic dissolves in acetone and hard gel does not, so it requires the nail technician to buff it off. If done carelessly and aggressively this will damage the nail plate. 
Emma-Jayne Fryatt, owner of salon Nail Artistry and an educator for Nubar
Nail Myths gelatin
 MYTH: gelatin helps make nails healthier
The idea that gelatin could help nails was originally conceived by a jelly manufacturer, who claimed the ingredients of gelatin (including bones, skin and hooves) would improve nails because the hooves were so strong and tough. Nails are made of keratin, not gelatin, so putting jelly on your nails won’t affect them at all. 
Georgie Smedley, director of Nail Harmony, distributor of Gelish and All That Jazz

MYTH: UV lamps can cause skin cancer 
The risk of developing skin cancer while using UV nail lamps is extremely low. Hands are exposed to UV for a very short time and at a very low level. Also, the natural nail plate has a natural UV resistance equal to SPF 40 sunscreen, and research also suggests that the back of the hands are 3.5 times more resistant than a person’s back. 
Sam Biddle

MYTH: brown or green patches are mould 
Mould is not a normal nail pathogen. The vast majority of nail infections are actually caused by bacteria, including pseudomonas, which show up as green discolouration of the nail. It’s generally caused by moisture trapped between the natural nail and an artificial
Sam Watkinson

Water manicure8 MYTH: water manicures are good for skin
The more exposure to water, the more dehydrated nails and skin will become. A manicure that treats the hands and nails using lotions and oils is far better than water, as it helps lock in the hydration. 
Georgie Smedley

9 MYTH: plastic tips make the nail stronger 
When sculpting Tips are there to create length, not strength. They are a platform on which to build the artificial nail structure using your chosen system. Likewise, a sculpting form is your building platform and in fact can be a much quicker method for the technician and has more versatility for creating extreme shapes. 
Emma-Jayne Fryatt

Nail myths cutting cuticles

10 MYTH: cutting cuticles benefits nails 
Loose pieces of cuticle should be removed with sharp nippers, but never cut the attached cuticles as this will not only cause them to grow back quicker and thicker but it can also lead to infection, as your cuticles are the only thing keeping germs out of your nail beds. When you clip cuticles, you’ll expose them to germs. 
Susan Gerrard