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 Is nail polish ruining your nails?

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Is nail polish ruining your nails?

Jacqueline Outred

does nail polish ruin toenails

The temperatures have warmed up, and invites have started rolling in from friends and family as we all emerge from winter slumber (some of us hibernate longer than others, clearly!). We've pulled out our open-toed shoes and retired our winter boots.

If you're foot conscious, or simply love having pretty toenails, pedicures have probably jumped up towards the top of the priority list for the season.

When we have our toes on display over the summer months, the temptation is to constantly keep them painted. But, to keep nails happy and healthy it's important to understand that nails are permeable (just like skin). In other words, nutrients can be blocked by substances that are applied to the surface - like nail polish, for instance.

Coatings like nail polish don't allow our nails to be penetrated by air or moisture, so the nail can't 'breathe' and the nail and nail bed starts to dry out. When the nails become too dry, they can crack, discolour, thicken, peel, and even split. They can become painful, unsightly and cause other issues if left untreated, including fungal infections or malformation of nails. It's sometimes also the case that toenails that have become thickened and discoloured are mistaken for fungal toenails when they're not, and people spend a lot of time and money incorrectly treating them as such.

So, what's a girl to do? (or guy, we don't judge) - you want nice looking toenails during summer, but constant pedicures might cause other issues for your feet.

You can have the best of both worlds - just remember to let your toenails breathe a bit too. Don't leave nail polish on for longer than a couple of weeks, and give your nails a two-week break between pedicures. If you moisturise your feet, paying special attention to the nail bed, and keep your toenails trimmed, your feet will still look lovely even without the paint.

If your toenails are already starting to look discoloured, brittle or cracked, be sure to start a regular moisturising routine straight away and stop applying polishes that might be exacerbating the problem.

If your toenails have become quite painful or unsightly and you're worried about infection, come in and see us for an assessment - we'll be able to give you specific advice and formulate a treatment plan.  Remember, our consultations are absolutely obligation-free.