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How does cold weather affect the nails?

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As the winter chill sets in, many individuals may notice changes in how their fingertips respond to the cold, especially those who have recently adorned themselves with gel nails. A curious reader reached out with a perplexing observation: despite the presence of a foreign substance on their fingertips, why does the sensation of cold seem more pronounced? In seeking answers, we explore the unique dynamics of nail care and its potential impact on sensory experiences. 

Understanding Cold Sensitivity with Gel Nails: Exploring Causes and Solutions

The sensation could be due to the gel acting as a magnet for cold air. If your nail plates are thinned out with a hand or electric file before the product is applied you could be more sensitive as the nail plate is no longer intact and its barrier function is compromised.

It is also possible that unique individual factors such as the number of nerve endings and sensors you have in your fingertips, these do and will play a role in how your fingertips respond to cold and it is also possible that you notice this more now that your nails have an artificial coating.

Explaining the Sensory Response in Fingertips

The reason a ring doesn’t have the same effect is simply that there are 20,000 nerve endings in your fingertips – These mini nerve receptors are responsible for what you sense in your fingertip, they respond to pain, cold, heat and pressure. If you didn’t have them it would be impossible to hold a cup or use your phone. These sensors and nerve endings are continuously moving around the dermis layer of your skin. If your nail tech uses an efile on the skin around your nail before applying the gel product this can affect your nerve endings as they are protected by the epidermis layer.

Please be aware there are NO nerve endings in your nail plate, it’s one of the only nonliving parts of your nail unit but IF it is thinned or under pressure, this WILL affect the senses that you experience in your fingertips.

Skin and nails suffer in cold weather. Changes in temperature affect the efficiency of the skin and, therefore, the natural nails. Central heating can be very drying, also. Dryness is the most likely problem in cold weather, so frequent use of nail oil and hand cream is essential. 

If you’re concerned about this sensation, it’s always a good idea to consult with your nail technician or healthcare provider for further advice.

Read more on how oils and creams can help in this article

Further reading on the impact of winter temperatures can be found here.

Winter Temperatures on UV Gel Nails
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