The first comment I’d like to make is that I am not against e-files for prep. But only in the trained and experienced hands. ‘Trained’ also includes a thorough knowledge and understanding of the nail unit, and the position and function of the nail seals.
You may have noticed that, recently, there have been many instances of two quite rare nail conditions. These are different from the 100’s of potential allergy situations.
One of them is a green/brown area of discolouration at the very base of the nail, almost tucked under the proximal nail fold. The other is slight to severe damage in the centre, at the base of the nail, over the lunula. This can start with a small area of damage but can spread up the nail. It is often mistakenly recognised as a habit tic.
Following discussions with Vitaly Solomonoff, NailKnowledge dermatologist (and nail geek), these may have two causes and both are connected with the use of e-files for prep (or other services).
Firstly, the discolouration: the appearance of this suggests it could be a pseudomonas infection (aka ‘greenie’). It appears quite difficult to have this diagnosed.
I realise that pseudomonas is often associated with an area of lifting between the nail coating and the nail plate. But it doesn’t have to be this. This bacterium is an ‘opportunistic’ bacteria and is present, virtually, everywhere. It likes warm, damp conditions.
So, imagine the important seal at the proximal nail fold where, together with the cuticle and the nail plate, it creates an effective watertight seal to protect the matrix. Then imagine this seal is removed, and there is a void under the fold of skin. This void can trap any amount of pathogens (and allergens) in a warm and damp environment!
The previous understanding was that pseudomonas will die when exposed to oxygen. Research has proved that this is not the case and there are several types of this bacterium that will quite happily survive in oxygen.
Amazingly, I have been told that some teach to brush the dust from enhancement shaping backwards, up the finger! Now, if this void is present, then dust, which may have an amount of unreacted monomer in it from either UV-cured coatings or L&P, is going to get trapped inside this void!
The main message here is to keep that important seal intact, and protect the new nail and the delicate matrix.
The second instance of the central damage is called ‘median dystrophy’ (different from habit tic that is usually on the thumb and its main characteristic is horizontal furrows). The main difference here is that the nail plate is split and not just furrowed. This can be caused by many things such as infection or trauma.
Vitaly’s research has suggested that this can also be caused by the vibration over the delicate area of the lunula, close to the matrix. Especially when using e-files for prep. The answer to this situation is to keep the e-file at a slow speed, use a bit that has a fine abrasive, and use a good quality machine that has little to no vibration.
This Blog does not diagnose nor suggest the only reasons for these conditions. It s intended to make nail professionals aware of some of the situations that can happen when using e-files or, indeed, any manual procedures in this delicate area of the nail unit.
What happens to interrupt the physiology in this area will affect the whole nail unit. It may be a temporary situation but it can also be permanent!