As kids we are gullible & will believe lots of crazy myths like “Bite your finger nails & they won’t ever grow back.” We know it isn’t true, but even grown up girls still believe strange things… like these nail myths:
MYTH # 1: YOUR NAILS NEED TO BREATHE
No, says dermatologist, Dr Noori Moti-Joosub of Laserderm in Johannesburg. “Nails don’t need to breathe. They are dead cells and everything that is necessary for healthy growth is already in your bloodstream & does not need to be obtained from any external element.”
“The contrary is actually true,” explains local nail guru Joan Kahn. “It is in fact better to keep your nails painted so that the natural oils are not lost.”
MYTH # 2: WHITE PATCHES = CALCIUM SHORTAGE
“Not necessarily,” said Beverly Kriek, national trainer at Imbalie Beauty Limited, parent company of Dream Nails Beauty and Perfect 10. This is mostly due to nail trauma like using your nails as tools & by doing so damaging it. Lack of zinc is also a possible cause.
MYTH # 3: STORE NAIL VARNISH IN THE FRIDGE & IT WILL LAST LONGER
Partly true, but it depends on how often you use it. If you take it out constantly, it will not affect the shelf life of the product. If you leave the nail varnish for a week or longer, the refrigerator will delay the operation of the thickening agents, which means that the product should last longer. “But the best way to prolong the shelf life of your nail polish is to make sure all excess nail polish is removed from the neck of the bottle & that it is properly sealed after use,” says Joan.
MYTH # 4: TAKE YOUR OWN MANI ‘IMPLEMENTS’ TO AVOID INFECTIONS
“It’s never a bad idea,” said Dr Moti-Joosub. But, practically it might not be the best solution. Just remember that therapists are accustomed to their own tools, so it’s probably just easier to make sure that it is properly cleaned. “Chances are also good that your own implements are not much cleaner if you have been carrying it around in your handbag.”
MYTH # 5: EAT CALCIUM & GELATINE FOR STRONGER NAILS
There is little evidence that calcium in your diet or calcium-rich products make nails stronger. In fact, studies show that natural nail plate (basically an extension of your skin) is less than 0.1% calcium. This does not mean that you do not need to eat foods rich in calcium or take calcium supplements, explains Dr Moti-Joosub. She encourages women to continue to take a supplement because it plays such an important role in bone health. The same applies to gelatine. Like hair, nails consist of keratin (a protein) & although gelatine is also a protein, there is no scientific evidence that gelatine strengthens nails.
MYTH # 6: IT IS GOOD TO CUT YOUR CUTICLES
Most salons still cut cuticles during manicures. However, dermatologists are not in favour of cutting cuticles or even pushing them back. “Cuticles are there to protect the nail bed and often clipping them removes the protective skin & bacteria enters causing very frustrating nail infections,” explains Dr Moti-Joosub.
MYTH # 7: FALSE NAILS DAMAGE YOUR NATURAL NAILS
“Nail technicians & not product (like acrylic or typs), damage nails,” explains Beverly. “With acrylic nails, the damage is done during the preparation. Remember that when tips are too harshly ripped off the nail (which is soft after being soaked), it tends to make grooves in the nail bed.”
Dr Moti-Joosub warns against acrylic nails because it is not flexible & can cause trauma to the nail – especially when it is badly removed. She prefers gel nails because it is flexible.
The bottom line? If you decide to fake nails, choose a reputable nail salon with experienced & well trained technicians.
MYTH # 8: IMMERSE WET NAILS IN ICE WATER TO MAKE IT DRY FASTER
This may sound like a nice idea, but unfortunately it does not work. “Nail polish is dry when the solvents in the formula evaporate, so to dip your nails in water will in fact delay the drying process,” says Joan.
And lastly, five quick tips for beautiful nails:
- Always file your nails in the same direction so that they don’t split.
- Do not use a nail clipper to cut your nails. Rather file them shorter.
- Use a daily cuticle oil. It is the most important product for beautiful nails.
- Beware of buffing. Do not do it more often than once a month.
- Get to the doctor if you have nail fungus. Over-the-counter drugs is probably not the solution.