Keeping fingers and toenails through manicures and pedicures is fashionable but it also has its painful costs
| By Chinwe Okafor | Oct. 28, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
NOTHING looks better than a clean, fresh, well maintained fingers and toenails. This can be achieved through manicures and pedicures. They are among the easiest procedures in beauty routine, and more so, thousands of beauty studios offering such services abound. Going to salons for manicures and pedicures enhances the health of finger and toenails, promotes faster growth and maintains well moisturized cuticles. Pedicures and manicures can make nails look better, cleaner and also prevent nail biting which can be a sign of chronic tension or anxiety.
Dumebi Umeh, a graduate of estate management, doesn’t miss out from going to nail salons to take care of her nails. She said that a good manicure treats the cuticles, which is vital for keeping the nails healthy and strong. Besides having a manicure makes the nails and hands look good, and also very relaxing. “People often neglect the feet and it’s usually left off our regular beauty routine but pedicures helps to get the feet going. During a pedicure, nails are cleaned, shaped and trimmed to prevent ingrown nails.
Exfoliating and massage elements are also applied to the foot which helps to relief aching feet and muscles. The oils and moisturising elements help to keep the feet well-hydrated and prevent dry cracked heels, which can be painful and unsightly.” Contrary to Umeh, Ifeoma Nwaogu, an undergraduate of Abia State University, said that manicures and pedicures are associated with too many dangers because they can cause allergic reactions, infections, and irritation if not done properly. “These beauty procedures can be dangerous, especially when a quack undertakes it because not all pedicurists and manicurists are very safety conscious.
“A lot of diseases can be contracted from a nail studio because a large number of people go for a manicure and pedicure and develop nail fungus or bacterial infections which can not only look bad but may also feel even worse. Also, the risks from manicures and pedicures can be contracted mainly from dirty tools because some manicurists and pedicurists simply sterilise their instruments with a nail polish remover or alcohol and this isn’t enough to protect the customer from various diseases. Only a heat-pressurised steriliser offers complete protection,” she said.
Although the hazards are hardly life-threatening because there are no known reported cases yet of blood-borne diseases like AIDS or hepatitis being transmitted, one can get warts and other infections if tools aren’t properly sterilized, Chidimma Okoro, a medical student, said. She added that one common nail disease that can be gotten from a bad pedicure or manicure is onychomycosis or ringworm of the nails, a stubborn nail infection that’s difficult to treat. Okoro, also said the disease can discolour one’s nails and make them dull, brittle, and flaky, while the cuticle becomes red, tender, and swollen, oozing pus from the infected nails.
However, there are also adverse effects that are not common but are something that people should be aware of. Ada Alaneme, a doctor in Imo, said there’s an allergic reaction to chemicals, such as acetone and formaldehyde, often found in nail products. She said that acetone in particular may irritate the skin around the nails and cuticles, causing the skin to become dry, itchy, and flaky. According to her, another adverse effect is bacterial or fungal infection which can be caused as a result of using nail equipment which are not sterilized properly.
“To minimise one’s risk of acquiring nail problems or diseases, one should go to a reputable salon which is always neat and well-lit. Bring your own tools if possible and keep them clean. If you’re not using your own manicure kit, see to it that all instruments are cleaned and disinfected before and after use.” She also advised that the best thing for women to do to protect their nail is to do nothing at all to keep off the manicurists and pedicurists. Nails should be given a break from manicures and pedicures sometimes to allow them to breathe and recuperate.
However, a recent study by the California department of toxic substances control has revealed that some nail polishes, despite being labeled ‘toxic free’, contain chemicals linked to birth defects and cancer.