There are two versions of this post. First the short one for the lazy people:
Three main takeaways from this post:
a. If you wear artificial nails – take them off very, very carefully.
b. Infections of the nail are a b*tch to treat, so
c. Let the cuticle be. Don’t push it, cut it, and dissolve it. It may not look pretty in your NOTDs / nail art – but it is there for a reason.
Now if you want to know why I say those things above, read on…
1. Nail diseases are extremely hard to treat because the visible nail cannot be repaired; It takes six months to grow a new fingernail and one year to grow a new toenail.
2. Onycholysis is common in individuals who wear artificial nails. The bond between the artificial nail and the natural nail is stronger than the bond between the natural nail and the underlying skin. This means unless absolute care is taken, the natural nail plate will rip from the skin causing pain and swelling of the finger.
3. Nail infections are very difficult to treat. The site of the nail fungal infection is not actually the nail itself, but the living tissues beneath the nail. This makes topical treatment ineffective because any applied medication must penetrate the hard nail plate to reach the infected tissues below.
4. Nail infections are traditionally treated orally with medications that must be taken for three months. The oral medication allows an antimicrobial to be incorporated into the newly grown nail, forming a barrier for the infection. The old infected nail is then cut away, and eventually the treated nail, resistant to infection, is formed. However, once medication is ceased, reinfection commonly occurs.
5. Disinfectants & Soap used to clean manicure and pedicure instruments are ineffective against fungus, thus fungal disease can be transmitted through nail salons. Nail fungus is also not killed by triclosan or other antibacterial agents traditionally used in soaps and cleansers. The best protection against a nail infection is an intact nail and surrounding cuticle.
6. The most important way to keep the nail plate healthy is to leave the cuticle undisturbed. Don't push it back & definately don't remove it. For most girls, this answer is almost too simple & just absurd, "Leave the cuticle? My nails will look ugly!!" they wail. The nail is designed to take care of itself, and any manipulation interferes with the perfect design. Removing the cuticle basically removes the waterproof layering that protects the nail base. Once open it traps moisture and all sorts of bugs. Leave it. It's there for a reason.