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Do your nails need to breathe?


Your nail plates are dead!!! They cannot breathe! (If you’re familiar with the Monty Python sketch) The nail cells have ‘ceased to be’!!!

Let your nails breathe!!! Yes??? NO!!!!

Do they need a ‘breather’ from overlays? Maybe! But that is the decision of an educated client (that may have financial constraints and uses this as a reason) or a skilled and informed nail professional who may suggest a period of time away from a gel polish or enhancements to enable a treatment product to help improve nail condition. This would be when the nail plate is getting brittle and maybe could benefit from an intensive conditioning treatment (just like hair when it needs a conditioning mask to bring back suppleness)

So what is all this ‘breathing nails’ all about?

Lets look at the 2 possibilities that this marketing ‘spin’ can refer to:

1. Cellular respiration. All living cells respire. This isn’t the same as ‘breathing’ as this requires lungs. The process is all about the exchange of ‘gasses’. In the lungs, there is an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In living cells, it is the exchange of many different molecules that allow the cell to function.

The nail plate is not made up of living cells so does not respire.

2. Permeability. Now, this is different! This is the ability of molecules of chemicals (remember everything is chemical except an energy e.g. heat, light and electricity) to cross over a coating/membrane etc.

ALL nail coatings are permeable to a certain extent. Some more than others . On the whole, only small molecules can permeate a nail coating of any kind. This will be oxygen, water, some oils and acetone. The channels they can permeate through are very tiny so not many substances can do this.

If you need a ‘bench mark’ acetone is a (relatively) small molecule. This is why it’s used as a ‘solvent’ for the majority of nail coatings. The quicker acetone can remove a coating is a very rough guide to the permeability.

If you understand this you will see that some nail coatings are more permeable than others! BUT….on any individual nail coating, how much oxygen and water can penetrate?? This is not measured! Too much water can cause a big problem of lifting and possibly bacteria. Oxygen? Why does a dead nail plate need oxygen?

Breathing nails? It’s a marketing spin that so many subscribe to!! Both nail pros and the consumer (and the media!!!) This is due to a lack of understanding and so many just promote such misinformation!! It isn’t true; it isn’t accurate!

Can we just make a ‘trend of accuracy’? Do not get caught up in the spin!!

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