By now you should know how the nail unit works, how our nail plates are produced and most of the advantages and or disadvantages of wearing artificial nail products, especially if you have taken your NailKnowledge Essential Nail Diploma!
We have learnt that choosing the right artificial nail product for the nail plate leads to happy clients in our salons – there is always more than 1 option and all we have to do is choose the product that works the best for our clients.
So, is it just marketing madness or can nail oils, hand & nail lotions make a difference to the day-to-day maintenance and condition of our nail units?
Almost all problems in the nail unit are accentuated by dryness.
Dry skin shrinks and cracks, dry nail plates can become brittle and start to flake, split and delaminate – but there is more to it than that.
In our daily lives our nail plates are moving all of the time, they move as they grow and they grow 24/7 only stopping if our body experiences some kind of traumatic and or shocking event. After the shock or traumatic event our nail matrix releases all the cells that were on hold at the same time, causing Beau’s Lines, and then nail plate cell production continues as normal.
During the day our hands come into contact with water on average about 10 times a day – worse still we are advised to wash our hands with soap and water 6-10 times a day, that’s a lot of water in our nail units without all the other times in our daily lives, washing the car, the dog’s, the kid’s, washing up, taking a shower even cleaning our teeth and let’s not forget when we have a moment for ourselves and take a bath.
Water is a very effective solvent, but that also makes it very efficient at getting into all the spaces that still exist between our nail plate cells and also into our skin – in the bath you see your skin swell & ripple, this is because all the skin cells are filled with water but you don’t see what happens to your nails unless you really look at them.
Our nail plates absorb all of that water and get ‘fatter’ you may well find that your C curve looks much nicer after a bath and a glass of wine, it’s not the wine – but the bath water that does that.
When we no longer have our hands in water it evaporates away – Doug Schoon’s diagrams from Face to Face II are great for showing the action with or without nail coatings. With a nail coating, evaporation is slowed somewhat because the water has to find an opening to evaporate through around the lateral nail folds and under the free edge but in both cases the water will evaporate.
This evaporation causes the nail plate to revert to its original size, you might notice it as shrinkage, but it’s actually reversion – so our nail plates not only move as they grow but they also expand & contract when we have had them in contact with water. If the nail plate is splitting or suffering from delamination this will then get worse.
Oils and lotions that are made to penetrate our skin and nail plates can be used as a sort of ‘defence’. When our nail plates are full of oils like squalene, avocado oil, jojoba oil maybe even extra virgin olive oil, they remain flexible, also making them more able to cope with minor trauma, and there is less room for excess water to penetrate, our nails maintain a good C curve and they help to keep our guardian seals guarding. The same goes for our skin when it is full of lotion with wonderful ingredients, including glycerin, there is less room for water so our skin does not expand excessively causing small wounds and abrasions which may have to become larger, which in turn causes more dryness.
Oils and lotions are essential in our modern world to help maintain flexible and healthy nails and to maintain elasticity of our skin, with the added bonus of keeping our nail coatings in optimal condition.