Beautiful Nails Shouldn't Cost You Your Health

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Nail Care

Picking the wrong nail care expert is an easy way to catch a number of nasty infections, and consumers should be extremely careful when choosing a pedicure and manicure specialist, said a Baylor College of Medicine dermatologist.

Dr. Ida Orengo, an associate professor in the department of dermatology, said the most common ailments spread by unsanitary nail care facilities are fungal infections, yeast infections, hepatitis C and HIV.

All nail salons are required to sterilize instruments between clients, she said. However, many salons get busy and don't always do it properly.

"One of the best ways to be safe is to buy your own manicure or pedicure tools," she said. "Then, you know they are sanitary no matter who does the work."

Orengo said beauty supply stores sell the sets for between $25 and $60.

"You might just want to talk to whoever does your nails," she said. "They may be able to order a set for you at wholesale cost that you can bring with you each time you visit the salon."

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Make sure the person doing your nails does not push back or cut the cuticle, she said. The cuticle seals the skin and the nail, and keeps fungus and yeast from getting inside.

"If you want to do something with the cuticle, just use a cuticle dissolver," she said. "Those are lotions that will soften them up without detaching them."

Consumers should also think twice before getting acrylic, or "fake," nails.

"Not only are some people allergic to them, they also provide a great place for infections to grow between your real nail and the acrylic nail," she said.

Orengo recommends keeping the hands clean, applying nail moisturizer and keep nails filed.

Vitamins, such as Biotin, can also help strengthen nails.

01/14/2003

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