If you’re downright obsessed with nail polish, whether addicted to rainbow-bright nail art or classic almond-shaped neutrals, you might want to rethink your habit. As Piedmont Healthcare explains, there are a few risks associated with constant nail polish use that can compromise the health of your nail beds. As nail polish addicts become even more obsessed as the months get warmer, getting toes summer-sandal-ready, analyzing the possible risks of constant mani-pedis will prove helpful down the line.
According to Piedmont, you might want to let your nails breathe between polishes, both for health and aesthetic reasons. Although many of us try to keep our toes perfectly polished all summer long, podiatrist Jocelyn Curry told the clinic that “leaving your nail polish on for too long can dry out the nails, leaving them brittle.” Although weak, brittle nails are thought to be just a cosmetic issue (who likes a broken nail?!), it can lead to more serious problems, too. Dr. Curry explains that nails provide a barrier against bacteria and fungus, and so brittle nails that offer a weaker defense can pose a health hazard and possibly lead to infection.
Allure also recommends letting nails breathe between mani-pedis, particularly if experiencing keratin granulation (white patches), peeling, splits, discoloration, or dehydrated cuticles, which can all be caused by constant nail polish use. If dealing with any of these issues, manicurist Mazz Hanna recommends waiting 6 months until your next nail salon visit.
The risks of painting nails all year-round
Even if you aren’t seeing any health concerns in your nails just yet, Dr. Curry also asserts you should be wary of constant polish for its tendency to stain the nail bed (via Piedmont Healthcare). As she notes, if pigment leaks into the nail, it can stain it, turning the nail yellow, which can take up to a year to grow out. But that could be the least of your worries: Dr. Curry explains that constant pedicures can also lead to toenail fungus. In fact, although many nail polish brands include chemicals to prevent bacteria growth, “salons use the same bottle of polish for many customers and there is a small risk of the polish harboring fungus or bacteria from another person.”
Although nail educator Anastasiia Morozova affirms to Sunday Riley that nails do not need to “breathe,” since they are “supplied with blood-enriched oxygen” located under the cuticle, most experts agree that a break every now and then is necessary, especially if using harsh nail polish. Many polishes are made up of chemicals that make nails weak, leading to nail breakage and even infection.
Overall, most nail experts recommend taking a breather every now and then between mani-pedis, removing polish every two weeks and waiting one to two days to repaint. And if you can’t live without summer pedis, try taking a break all winter (via Piedmont). As long as you use caution, you should have strong, healthy nails all yearlong.
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