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Enhancements on Nail Biters?

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enhancements on nail biters

Question: Should we apply enhancements on nail biters? I have a client who is a nurse and a very bad nail-biter. She asked me to help by giving her UV gels to help her stop biting. I thought this was a great idea since her nails were so damaged that she could be a health hazard at her job. Isn’t there a less likely chance of bacteria growing on top of the enhancement? Particularly UV gel because it is not as porous as other nail coatings? She bites her nails so badly that she has to put Band-Aids on them because they hurt so much. What should I do?

Answer: You are correct; her nail-biting habit can lead to infections because these damaged areas of the nail can harbor disease-causing pathogens. Many studies have confirmed that nurses generally do not wash their hands properly or often enough. This could, indeed, create an infection risk for patients as well. I mean no offense to nurses. It’s a wonderful profession and I admire their work, but studies show they often don’t wash their hands as much as they should.  

I do understand your desire to help, but applying artificial nail coatings could make matters worse. Nail biters are notorious pickers and often chew on artificial nail coatings as well. When taken to the extreme you’ve described, nail-biting is compulsive behavior. Therefore, simply applying a nail coating is not likely to address the compulsive behavior. Bacteria can also grow in areas where the nail coating is peeling, cracking, or chipping. The key to keeping nail coatings safe is to keep them in good shape and avoid service breakdown. When this is done, I agree with you that the surface of an artificial nail is much less likely to harbor pathogens than the surface of the natural nail plate.

However, you should be very cautious about applying the nail coatings to any exposed living tissue. If the nail bed is exposed as a result of the client’s actions, I don’t recommend that you apply these products to either exposed or broken skin. Doing so increases the potential that the client can develop an adverse skin reaction. These types of reactions cause skin damage that can also harbor pathogens, so these types of conditions should also be avoided.

For less severe cases of nail-biting, you can get some more information here:

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