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Common Myths About Nails

No, Your Nails Don't Need to Breathe, and 6 Other Nail Myths Debunked

When it comes to nail health, many people have age-old information they were given by the women in their lives. I hate to break the bad news, but a lot of it is probably false. Think your nail needs to breathe between salon appointments or that gels are better than acrylics? We're going to debunk some of the myths you may think are true so your nails can be happier and healthier.

Your nails need to breathe.

Your nails don't need to breathe because the nail bed is already made of dead cells, which don't need oxygen. As long as you are visiting a salon that is safe and sanitary, the only thing that will happen to your nails if you wear a lot of nail polish is yellow staining, which you can easily remove with soapy water and a nail brush.

The white spots on the nail bed are caused by calcium deficiency.

These spots are called leukonychia and are not caused by calcium deficiency. It is actually caused by nail damage from things like poorly taken off gels/acrylics or misusing harsh tools.


Gels are better for your nails than acrylics.

Both are chemicals and neither are good for your nails. It all depends on safe application and removal process by you or your nail tech, so make sure you are well-informed on how to remove gels properly.

Cutting your whole cuticle off makes your nails grow healthier.

Cuticles are a barrier to prevent infection to the nail, so cutting all of it off increases likelihood of infection to the nail bed. Gently pushing back cuticles after applying a specific cuticle remover or oil is enough to care for your cuticles. It's even illegal in some US states such as New York for salon manicurists to cut clients' cuticles.

The more you file your nails down, the healthier they will grow.

This generally depends how you file them. You should never file from side to side as this causes friction and damages the nail plate. Filing in the same direction will give you the desired shape and won't cause nail plate damage. The file you use helps to maintain nail health because using a harsh file may also damage the nail plate. Only use a fine-grit nail file or crystal nail file; they are a little more expensive but worth it.

Putting nail polish remover in old nail polish will thin it and make it last longer.

This is an instant solution to a gloopy nail polish but will soon actually make it more gloopy and decrease the shelf life of the polish. Investing in a nail polish thinner will improve the quality of a nail polish and make it last longer. However, if the polish is gloopy beyond repair and the thinner isn't working after two attempts, I'm sorry to say but it's time to throw it out.

Cosmetic nail products can provide nutritional value to your nail.

Only food can provide nutritional value to your body internally. Cosmetic products can protect the nail, but vitamins can't provide nutrition to nail plates externally. It would be illegal for a company to claim that a product can provide this nutrition. The ultimate way to care for your nails is the obvious one: eat up and eat well. But don't forget to moisturise those cuticles!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim
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