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Nail Conditions: What Can You Do?


Every day on social media platforms there are countless nail professionals posting pictures of a whole variety of nail conditions and asking for help with a diagnosis. They usually get a LOT of comments with a whole variety of diagnosis and treatment suggestions!

Who Holds the Right Qualifications for Nail Services and Diagnosing Nail Conditions?

Well in the UK, no one!!! Not as a nail services professional up to the equivalent of a Level 3. But anyone that has an advanced qualification (and is insured for that qualification) for example a ‘foot health practitioner’ or a podiatrist, are trained and qualified to diagnose certain conditions and can suggest a treatment.

In some other countries, some advanced education is more easily available and that is why I’ve invited our Guest Expert, Tracy Shelverton, to add her comments onto this blog. However, there is a possibility that the UK may be able to access some advanced NOS and, at the very least, be able to diagnose and treat the more common conditions or know when to refer to a medical practitioner.

What Qualifications Should Nail Professionals Have for Nail and Skin Conditions?

Every nail professional should be educated in all of the more common nail and skin conditions involving the hand and foot! If not, then why not?

This is NOT a diagnostic nor prescribing level of education, but it must be to a level of ‘recognition’! This is about recognition. Knowing when you can or cannot continue with a nail service. Knowing when you can proceed but with adjustments. Or knowing when to refuse the service and refer to a medical professional (and this is not always a GP who are not easy to get an appointment with or not sufficiently knowledgeable about conditions that populate our industry. It could be a podiatrist who understand both hands and feet!)

Frequent Repetition: Consistent Nail Condition Questions

Some of the posts and pictures are the same condition asked about over and over again! A range of different answers provided every time.

This is a lack of appropriate education! Even more unfortunate is when the correct answer is given and refers to an expert in the correct field and so many refuse to believe the science. The more recent research in pseudomonas (‘greenies’) being a perfect example. So many refuse to believe that no coating can be reapplied over this bacterial infection as it has been taught differently in the past and it doesn’t suit the nail professional!

To summarise: If you have not been taught how to recognise common nail and skin conditions then you need to question your education! In the UK we are only allowed to work on healthy nails. Anything else leaves you open to litigation whether you have insurance or not!

Take your career seriously. Take the health of your clients seriously and don’t play the game of being a medical professional because you are not!


Over to my friend Tracy Anne Shelverston:

Thanks Marian – I agree 100%

The first thing we need to do is keep in simple so to start.

When in doubt – don’t!

  • If you’re not sure, based on the education that you have had, then you are in doubt – When in doubt – don’t!
  • If you know you shouldn’t but you, do it anyway – be aware it can cost you the shirt on your back if all goes wrong – Do you really want to take the risk? – When in doubt – don’t!
  • Are you insured to do what you want to do? – When in doubt – don’t!
  • Are you insured to do what your client wants you to do? – When in doubt – don’t!
  • Get good education so you don’t doubt yourself – When in doubt – don’t!

How do you manage to sort the good from the bad and the ugly? It’s a major problem if you don’t know where to start!

In my humble opinion all nail school students need to have basic knowledge of the nail unit and product chemistry and health and safety – Nail Knowledge is taking care of that.

We need to teach about pathological problems in nail plates and nail units so problems can be recognized and referred to the right place or when in doubt, refer to the MD

I also am of the opinion that some kind of basic first aid is essential in nail salons.

Here in the Benelux we have protocols in place that are medically and science based – a stop gap until the client, customer or patient can get to the right specialist but we also have Medical Hand Care, Oncology Hand Care, Podiatrists, Medical Podiatrists, Oncology Foot Care, Diabetic hand & foot care and Pedicures that we can refer our clients to and we also have medical house doctors and specialists that trust us to stay in our competency.

Whatever it is you want to do, please …. If you are not qualified to do it – don’t!


Thankyou Tracy!!!!

Posting questions on SM is NOT the answer! If you need to do that then question your education.

Do not listen to the whole variety of suggestions!

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