The Worlds Biggest (and Best!) Nail Knowledge Centre

The Russian Manicure

Often, harsh and severe abrasives that are used in this technique lead to multiple micro-injuries of the skin even though they are not visible with a naked eye, and the final work can look great and neat from the aesthetic and professional point of view. The great aesthetics of anything in this world may be SO impressive that the amazing beauty makes our eyes miss imperfections. In our case, the signs of redness, slightly irritated, swollen, sometimes gummy skin are those imperfections. Simultaneously, all those signs are symptoms of inflammation. Like a moon, inflammation has two sides. One is bright and nice for our health when inflammation is a protective, regenerative tool, for all our skin. Another is the dark side, bad for us and leads to unhealthy conditions and diseases.

Cosmetology, including nail cosmetology, uses controlled inflammation to achieve aesthetically beautiful and healthy results at the same time. Let us confess, many of our procedures consciously or unconsciously may reach the dangerous line when good things and intentions become bad or sometimes too bad. This tiny line is knowledge of inflammation, not only anatomical aspects of the skin or nails. Thus, we become professionals to be able to recognise that tiny line. While many nail professionals tend to spend hours days and months training on physical work, they often miss the basic theory and theoretical education, which is a part of any practical skills in every occupation. So, let’s see where the practice of the Russian manicure can be dangerous besides the direct injuries to the ‘cuticles’ and nails during the manicure.

As with many cosmetic procedures, we use scrub, peels, or abrasion to get the results of the procedure. In our profession one of the most popular products are scrubs. No, no, no, they don’t only “clean” the skin of the dead cells – leave this phrase for marketing people. Scrubs are the type of mildest abrasion. They are effective because they awake the deepest living cells in our epidermis making them regenerate new, fresh skin layers. Why? How? The answer is simple – they remove the dead part of the skin surface and affect the barriers of the skin. Our skin always responds to any treatment like this. It could be a mild massage or severe traumatisation. The skin’s response is a series of biological reactions that help to re-cover the barrier and restore the skin. The skin performs this life-saving function via inflammation. It can be invisible or painful and obvious, short, or long-lasting. So, when we say, “skin rejuvenation”, we really mean skin inflammation. So those meanings are synonyms in terms of cosmetology because there is no way how to rejuvenate the skin without inflammation.

The reactions of inflammation activate all resources of living cells, blood vessels, local immune system, etc.

Another good sample of the relatively safe and the most effective manicure/pedicure type of mechanical peeling is nail polishing with a regular polishing file. Traditionally, we have never considered this procedure as a peeling, but technically it is mechanical peeling. When it is performed safely, it results in a high beautiful shine. But besides the shining effect, it stimulates the living cells of the nail bed, increases microcirculation, and eventually leads to nail growth. However, excessive, or frequent use of this highly professional method may also result in severe nail damaging.
While a scrub or nail shining is an example of mild abrasion, the peelings, especially the deep ones can be dangerous and require special medical education to understand what is going on in the skin from the initial stage of the inflammation to the full healing and skin recovering. Usually, peelings are associated with chemical action. Nevertheless, let’s remember that our skin doesn’t strongly recognises the type of damaging agent. Whatever it could be – chemical, mechanical, or infectious source, the skin responds with inflammation. The stronger injury causes a more severe skin reaction. Massage or a scrub generates just initial stages of reaction with a positive outcome, chemical peels or harsh abrasion require the knowledge of how to control the severe inflammation and get positive results too simultaneously. With the lack of those multiple details, the inflammation turns into disease. The repeated traumatisation if it takes place causes the repeated reactions of inflammation, which in turn leads to chronic inflammation and its signs become symptoms sooner or later. So, now you know that multiple mild inflammations have a cumulative effect and turn into a chronic injury if the skin does not have time to recover.

The skin’s renewal cycle is approximately 30 days. So, logically, if we severely damage the epidermis every 2-3 weeks the cycles overlap one another, and we maintain the inflammation. The skin has an amazing ability to regenerate itself, but this ability is limited. When the limits are depleted the skin shows the signs of abnormality. The signs include extreme dryness, slow nail growth, the nail plates become thin, fragile, changes in shape. In the most severe cases onycholysis, onychomadesis, or even pterygium take place when the nail matrix involves in the process.

The initial damage due to the severe and deep abrasion opens the way to other poorly controlled drawbacks and literally becomes a chain reaction of several inflammatory responses when your skin is forced to respond to each of them.

As far as abrasion breaks the skin barrier and initiates the inflammation, the broken shield, i.e. proximal nail fold opens access to the infectious agents, which in turn immediately triggers additional inflammatory stimuli. It also lets the potential allergens to penetrate through the skin, which is almost impossible when the barriers remain intact (if you use quality products).

If the nail plate gets overfilled and thin, it shortens the way to nerve endings and they can be easily damaged due to the heat spikes when your gel is polymerising. The result is a burn of the nail bed and inevitable onycholysis.
Thus, initial damage to the skin and nail barriers induces at least three additional problems – infections, allergies, and burns. All those factors and diseases initiate different types of inflammatory reactions.

This article is not an attempt to demonise one technique but reveal the hidden dangers that take place when we do not see the limits of our responsibility. The efiles are strong and highly professional tools. There are plenty of professions where efiles are indispensable – your dentist, podiatrist, or surgeon – just to name a few. It is also indispensable when you need to speed up your service when you are working with artificial materials such as acrylics or gels but remember about your professional responsibility.

Have you taken your Essential Nil Professional Diploma?
Group Prices
Ask the Experts
Ask the nail experts