To cut or not to cut?

Howdy everyone!

As promised from my previous blog, Sterilize or nah?I will be discussing about the skin around our nails today. If you haven’t read my previous blog then you might want to read it before or after you read this blog.

Here’s a link

Now, let’s get back to business…

The traditional way of beautifying the nails and making sure that one will achieve a perfect and flawless set of manicured or pedicured nails includes cutting the skin around the nail. For those who haven’t tried this yet and are imagining it right now, OUCH right?

Here in the Philippines, it is still widely practiced. More than half of the population of the Philippines, male and female, who take nail services still allow, sometimes even insist, their technicians to cut the skin around their nails. Now, what’s my problem with this practice? Nothing, really. Except that I’m just concerned you might have incurred unwanted diseases from your technicians’ tools, especially if they are not properly sterilized. So read my blog, at the link I have posted above. Great way to advertise, right? *wink wink*

All jokes aside, it is a fact that you can contract diseases unknowingly by cutting the skin around your nails. A lot of us still believe that the skin around the nails is what we call the cuticle. THAT IS WRONG.

Is my emphasis on that statement too obvious? Yes? Good.

The thing that we call cuticle is actually what we push. That’s why we always say “Push the cuticle.” The cuticle is a thin layer of dead skin cells that grow together with our nails. Now, you might say “Oh then that’s fine, my technician only cuts the cuticle near the direction where my nails grow from.” Well then if that is the case, you are fine. BUT… Yesss, there’s a big bold “but” there… you should be careful as the “cuticle” that you think your technician is cutting might actually be skin. That teeny tiny “cuticle” around your nail that cannot be pushed alone and needs to be cut is actually skin.

Okay. To make this discussion more fun, let us play a game. Yay! Games!~~

I want you to look at the picture below and identify the parts of the nail that are pointed and numbered. I apologize in advance for the unsightly image. ROFL. Let us start! Ready? Go!

Are you done? Great job! I will give you the answers and I hope that you got them all right. For those who have not tried guessing, go back and look at the picture again. No cheating! 😉

Here are the answers:

  1. Nail Plate

    – Or for most of us, this is what we simply call the “nail”

  2. Cuticle

    – Yes. That unsightly thing there is what we call the cuticle and what we actually push. Let us zoom in on that picture to get a better look.

I know. I know. I’m sorry for this but I had to sacrifice my nails and not clean it for two weeks just to show you guys what the cuticle really looks like. That’s how much I love you. Anyway, back to the topic…. The cuticle is that extremely thin looking skin on our nails and it grows together with the nail. As it grows with our nail, it becomes less obvious and invisible to the naked eye unless we push them.

3. Proximal Nail Fold

– This is the skin that I mentioned above. The proximal nail fold is often mistaken as the cuticle and so people cut it thinking that there is no danger in getting rid of it.

Gals, it is very important to take note that the proximal nail fold has a very crucial function. It helps prevent bacteria from going inside your skin. In other words, it helps prevent any kind of bacteria or infection to go in your system. Therefore, it is imperative that you only push the cuticle until the proximal nail fold. DO NOT DIG IN THE NAIL FOLD. I put it in bold so that you would not miss that. Teehee.

You might say that it is alright with you as you have never experienced any infection or bleeding before. I am telling you right now, IT IS NOT ALRIGHT. Cutting the skin around the nails, although there’s no visible bleeding, still causes the skin to give a grand opening for bacteria and viruses to go inside your system. Yes. Grand. That is because the bacteria and viruses are rejoicing with flowers and party poppers as they happily enter your body. Remember, just because you can’t see the bacteria doesn’t mean it’s not there. I’m not talking about a ghost or any mythical creature. I’m talking about the wound you gave yourself after allowing your skin to be cut. I’m also talking about the microscopic bacteria and viruses you can’t see but are lurking everywhere. On your technician’s tools, your clothes, your gadgets, and even in the air. Unless of course you are cautious enough to always bring a microscope with you to check if nothing goes inside your cut skin. Wouldn’t that be too heavy?

Now, let me ask you, have you ever experienced  hanging skin near the “root” of your nail? Does it hurt? Of course it does! The reason behind that is most likely the severed proximal nail fold from your manicure. When you cut the skin you are cutting living tissue. That’s the reason why your skin popped like that. And if it hurts, that’s because it’s a wound and might already be infected or inflamed. You might be thinking ” Oh, I’ve never tried having any of that.” Okay. That’s good. But have you ever tried having red swollen fingernails at least once? Yes? Then the severed proximal nail fold could be one of the reasons.Swollen and infected fingers can be caused by a lot of things and the procedure I have stated is one of them. Most women experience swollen, infected, and inflamed fingers because of improper manicure procedures.  Bear in mind that not everything is visible to the naked eye and bacteria will always get into your system even through the tiniest opening they see. Should you just wait to be infected by something worse than a simple bacteria?

Infected finger due to the pulling of the hanging nail

You might be cursing me right now and asking me “So what will I do with the dry skin around my nail?” I understand that cutting it is the fastest solution and since you got used to doing it, it might be difficult to turn your back on it and try the slow but safe way to help you. The skin is dry because it lacks moisture. In addition to that, once you have tried cutting the skin around, it will take time for it to come back to its perfectly natural beauty. It will take time, effort, devotion, and a lot of moisturizer, however, I want you to do it for yourself and for your lovely nails and health. Moisturize your hands everyday, including the skin around your nails and your nails, and never again cut the skin around your fingernails. This applies to your toenails too. Moisturize in the morning or before you sleep and, in time, your nails will go back to their normal form. This takes a lot of patience, effort, and like I said, moisturizer. So I am telling you now, START NOW AND NEVER LOOK BACK. 


Do you have any comments, questions, or any suggested topic? Hit the comment section or like my page on facebook @spontanaileous.

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See you in the next blog!


Sterilize or Nah?

Most of us women have tried buying the services of individuals who are “skilled”and “knowledgeable” in cleaning our nails or applying some funky or classy nail polish colors on them. Some pay the services offered in nail salons and some pay individuals who offer cheap house to house manicure and pedicure services.

Whenever you walk in a nail salon or while your on call nail technician cleans your nails, you would already be thinking of what nail polish color should you have next on your nails. Will you get a nail art? Maybe you should try the nude colors? Or perhaps be bold and try the loud pastel colors?   These are the thoughts that usually run into your head. But wait. Let me ask you something. Have you ever stopped and asked your nail technician how they sterilize their tools?

OK. So let me just share the things that I know with you because I think that this is a matter that most of us overlook .

There are a lot of diseases that can likely be acquired from nail salons. Surprised? You should not be. Why?  Because the tools used in the salon were not only used on you but also on previous customers and it will most likely be used on succeeding customers as well. Simply put: Most tools used are not disposable and, if not properly cleaned and sterilized, it will transfer bacteria and viruses from one customer to another.

Let me give you an example: HIV. HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system and its a disease that has no definite cure yet up to this day. Most of us think that it can only be acquired by having sexual intercourse with a person who has it. But it can also be transmitted through other body fluids like blood. So say for example, your technician used the tools on a customer who is infected with HIV then accidentally wounded the customer and some blood got into the tool, may it be a nipper or a pusher. If your technician uses the same tool on you and accidentally wounded you as well, the virus that was previously acquired from the previous customer will be transmitted to you and you will unknowingly be infected. Please note that sometimes you will not notice symptoms of these diseases until it’s too late.

Now you may be thinking, “what if my nail technician washes the tools with soap?”. Let me answer that for you. Washing the tools with water and soap won’t completely kill the bacteria or viruses. A percentage of it will still be left and that will be enough for the bacteria or viruses to multiply again and be transmitted to succeeding customers.

Now you might say, “Well, that’s easy. I’ll just make sure my nail technician doesn’t wound me.” The thing is , a lot of us , especially here in the Philippines, still believe that cutting the skin on the sides is still necessary to achieve a perfect manicure or pedicure. But it is not–I will explain this on another blog. How is this relevant to the topic? Cutting the skin creates a wound that, although doesn’t produce blood, will still create an entrance for the bacteria and viruses to go into your system. It’s like you are happily welcoming the bacteria and viruses inside your body with open arms saying “Yes! Welcome! Enjoy your stay inside my body! Feel at home!”. Can you just imagine doing that?

Other diseases like HPV, AIDS, and even athlete’s foot can be easily transferred to you if your technician’s tools are not properly sanitized. Now how can you make sure that the clippers, nippers, pushers, and other reusable tools that are used on you are safe and properly sanitized? Here is a list:

1. Ask your Nail Technician.

Ask your nail technician or the receptionist what methods of sterilization or sanitation do they use to clean their tools. If they say that they only wash their tools using water or soap then I suggest that you politely say “Thank you” with a smile, turn to the door, and leave. Run for your life and never come back.

2. Make sure that they use an AUTOCLAVE or a UV sterilizer.

– AUTOCLAVE. For my beloved readers with any medical backgrounds, high five! Yes! nail salons must have autoclaves too! For those who don’t know what autoclaves are: An autoclave is “an apparatus in which special conditions (as high or low pressure or temperature) can be established for a variety of applications; especially :  an apparatus (as for sterilizing) using steam under high pressure” (merriam webster dictionary definition).

(A Cylindrical autoclave)

Autoclaves are used in hospitals and clinics to sterilize their tools as it is extremely effective in killing microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and even viruses. Again, tools in nail salons have a big possibility of acquiring unwanted bacteria and viruses so using this equipment is highly recommended.

UV Sterilizer. A UV sterilizer is less effective than an autoclave. It only reduces the microorganisms but it doesn’t completely kill them. So personally, I would choose a salon that will give me the lowest percentage of risk of infection.

(UV Sterilizer)

3. Observe you environment

credits to:

-You should be observant of what is happening inside the salon. A clean environment means that there are less bacteria lurking around the place and it would mean that the place is well kept.

4. If all else fails, bring your own tools.

My very own nail tools 😀

– If you cannot find a salon near you that has an autoclave or UV sterilizer, then I would suggest that you bring your own tools. Don’t be afraid to tell your attending technician to use your tools. Even if you are to be judged or branded as a person with OCD, pay no mind. It’s better to be completely safe than to regret later on. If, however, you find a salon that uses an autoclave, maybe you could try and ask them if they could include your tools during one of their sterilization processes for that day. I’m sure they will be happy to oblige. Just make sure you don’t take advantage and bring your tools everyday. They might make you pay. *wink wink*

Do you have any comments, questions, or any suggested topic? Hit the comment section or like my page on facebook @spontanaileous.

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See you in the next blog!