Some Contraindications for Nail Enhancements and How to Identify Them.

Updated: Feb 18



We love to look our best, to put our best foot forward, but I can tell you that from my experience in the industry, we often put our worst foot forward. Whether intentionally or not we often find ingenious ways to hide our feelings and in the same breathe we also hide our physical imperfections. we would go to the end of the universe to feed that need. with that said I have had clients who come in and demand that I do a pedicure with nail polish on, only to find that they are embarrassed by the large fungal infection hidden behind beautifully gel polished toes. Others don't know what to do with it, how to treat it. they are unaware of the dangers of cross-contamination not only to their own family members and loved ones but to the many unsuspecting strangers who use the same nail salon services.


Here are some of the most common nail enhancement contraindications we see in nail salons;


Nail disease and disorders – These nail conditions cause a change in color and the physical nature of the nail, change in appearance from clear transparent nail plate to a brown, green, sore, hot, pus, swollen, infection



Nail separation –In the event that there is trauma to the nail and its surrounding structures, adding nail enhancements is not advisable. This further damage to the nail bed and nail infections.


Exposed nailbed– This is somewhat the same as the above nail separation, but the difference in this is that the nail bed is partially or completely exposed, usually secondary to trauma. The nail plate is missing, raw may present pus, blood, and is completely open to infection.



Open wounds cuts and abrasions – This is usually painful, open to infections or can come to the shop affected with bacteria, this will appear pus-filled, swollen, red, and depending on how severe the infection is it may be foul-smelling. unlike the exposed nailbed this condition can be described as any damage or injury around the nail unit.


Extreme curvature – Can't adhere to the applied tip because of its irregular shape. Would look very thin, brittle, and fragile. Learn more here Different Types of Nail Disorders You Should Know

this blog post describes many nails disorders that a frequently seen in the nail salon.


Warts & Verrucas – The presence of a singular or multiple rough, bumpy, discolored elevation may be contagious and is usually caused by viral infections on the hand.


Ringworm – Ringworm or nail fungus is a common skin infection that is caused by a fungus. It's referred to as a “ringworm” because it generally causes a circular rash that is shaped like a ring. Some signs of ringworm are of course the presence of the circular rash with accompanying itching and a red inflamed area. You can also observe white scaly patches, yellowish in color that, begins at the free edge of the nail plate and gradually migrate to the root of the nail unit. Check out this blog post The Structure and Growth of The Natural Nail to learn more about the parts of the human nail.


Thinning of the natural nail – This can be caused by a wide range of factors, constant wearing of acrylics without giving your natural nail space to breathe, or incorrect removal. Would look pink nail, tender, over filing, flexible, weak, get manicure or nail strengtheners.


Peeling nails- This usually occurs as a result of exposure to too little or too much moisture. The former can be caused by repeatedly wetting the nails and drying them. Soaking the nails in the water while performing your daily chores can make the nails soft or peeling of the natural nails. Avoid using fingernails as tools to pick up or open objects.


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Hangnail- Hangnails are damaged cuticles. These are cracked, peeling, red, and sore thin layers on the proximal nail fold and a continuation of the cuticle. These are open to infection and it is not recommended to apply nail enhancements to persons with hangnails but a trained nail technician will look at how severe it is to decide on how to move forward.


Allergy to products – Signs of allergy to chemicals include an inflamed reddish-looking nail, it looks irritated, swollen, and sore.




Fungal infections – In this case, in my practice, many people come into the salon with discolored nails, they often try to hide. When asked about it they show genuine ignorance about what it is. For a person with a nail fungus, present nails that are discolored, usually a greenish or brownish discoloration of the free edge of the nail plate that shows signs of progression towards the nail root. The cause of nail fungal infections are:

  • Poor hygiene (poor handwashing practices)

  • Poor hydration practices

  • Women who overfill the nails.

  • Tightly fitted shoes.



In my practice, men are more likely to present with fungus on both fingers and toes. Of the two, toe final infections are seen the most and they always ask for solutions. I advocate for prevention and in my post Getting a Manicure & Pedicure for Men. A step by Step Male Grooming Guide for Men. I wrote about the importance of the male manicure. Colour would shine through (brown or green), poor hygiene requirement, not dehydrated properly, over filing, pus, moisture under the nail can spread, so I will advise visiting your GP for further treatment.



Mechanical damage– This is more of a cause than a contraindication but it is a cause that produces a negative effect. Heavy-handed filing, poor drilling, and buffing techniques damage your natural nails. Nails become too weak, flexible, not as firm, transparent with blood spots, and sometimes present with active bleeding. This is not a good sign. In this case, do not apply nail enhancements.


Other medical Contraindications for Manicure

  • Diabetes (These persons are more prone to easily getting not only local but systemic infections due to an inefficient immune response.)

  • Nail Psoriasis

  • Herpes (if located on the face, hands)

  • Bruising (hematomas) This is a collection of blood under the nail plate.

  • Erysipeloid

  • People undergoing a course of Chemotherapy

Most if not all of the above contraindications for nail enhancements I've seen once or multiple times in my shop. It is something that not only trained nail technicians should know or practice how to identify but something that the customers themselves should be aware of as well. Take charge of your nail health, start by reading my blog post How to give yourself a simple pedicure at home. You can replicate the simple steps outlined in the post to do a home pedicure. You may not be able to visit your nail technician for a regular pedicure so why not start at home if you can. Prevention is better than cure.


Once again thanks for being here I hope today's blog post was informative and there were some important takeaways you can use to improve your life and style, yes enrich your lifestyle. So until next time lovies, stay fabulous!


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