Our hands, especially nails, take a beating as we go about our daily lives and chores, leaving the nails brittle, discoloured and unhealthy. If you think monthly mani-pedi visits to the salon can reverse the damage, then you’re only partly right, since rituals like these, too, can bring harm.For instance, a common practice during nail grooming sessions is cutting of cuticles. Bad idea, say experts.
“Nail cuticle is the transparent skin located above and around the nail base. It protects your nail and the surrounding skin from infection. Cutting them makes it easier for bacteria and fungal elements to get inside. So it’s best to just push back the cuticle and trim loose skin and hangnails,” says dermatologist Dr Nirupama Parwanda.
Nail buffing, too, needs caution — if you do it too often and too aggressively, it can damage the nail plate and lead to splitting of nails.
Coming to habits that need alteration, and beauty expert Bharti Taneja reminds to not bite your nails. “It’s constant damage that people cause to their nails. Also, a cracked nail demands immediate filing or trimming or it might get stuck into something and break further,” she says.
Nail products and polishes , too, aren’t always free of harsh chemicals. Apart from opting for acetone-free nail polish remover, pick polishes free of the following toxic chemicals, advises Dr. Parwanda.
DBP (Dibutyl phthalate): It’s used in nail polish to reduce chipping, but has been linked with reproductive issues.Toluene: Keeps the polish application smooth; has been linked to causing decreased brain function, impaired breathing, headache, nausea and dizziness.
Formaldehyde: Helps harden nails and polishes. However, exposure to larger doses of formaldehyde can lead to throat, lung and blood cancer.