Natural nail care is extremely important, especially as it pertains to coatings, and artificial nail products. Studies have shown that a combination of nail preparation and the removal of artificial nails causes much of the “damage” that clients commonly complain about. It is not the artificial products causing damage. Acetone, nail Liquids, nail polishes and such items do not eat away the nail plate. Studies have shown that these chemicals have virtually no effect on the natural nail plate. However when nail technicians were asked how they prepare the natural nails before many services, it’s commonly found that the files or drills they use are causing most of the damage, or weakness, to the natural nail before the artificial coatings or products are applied. In the removal process, when soaking, the natural nail will become soft on the outer cells of the nail plate. When scratched or scraped with tools such as orangewood sticks or other tools they cause the cells to be displaced easily. This is seen in images 2, and 3. Believe it or not soaking in water can soften the cells on the outer part of the natural nail making them temporarily vulnerable to scraping and scratching.
Using the right file
The common files that are mainly used on cured hard acrylic are 80 – 180 grit Black, White, or Zebra type of files that have a foam interior and plastic center. This type of file is created with a material called silicon carbide or aluminum oxide which has a Moh’s (Mineral Hardness Scale) hardness of 9 – 9.6 which is less than one point lower than the hardness of a diamond(10). This file which is supposed to be used for cured acrylic is commonly used for etching or preparing the natural nail plate; and this is where the damaged is done.
When this type of file is dragged across the surface of the natural nail repeatedly it causes damage to the nail plate, and once this damage is created it cannot be reversed. In most cases the pressure of the hand and file pushing down on the surface of the natural nail can thin out the surface of the nail with just a few services.
In some other instances drills are used for natural nail preparation, using carbide, or diamond bits, with speeds of 5,000-20,000rpms. If damage can be caused to the natural nail by hand, with the wrong files, you can only imagine what kind of damage can be caused by drills. This damage is most commonly seen as pits or grooves on the natural nail surface. Usually there is a burning that goes on when using a drill on the natural nail. This damage will stay on the natural nail until it can grow out which usually takes weeks or months for this to occur. This is what commonly causes nails to split or crack as the damaged portion of the natural nail grows out to the free edge.
What is the solution?
The solution is a simple one, use a softer material on the natural nails, and use a technique with that material. Emery boards (Moh’s of 7) are the best thing that can be used on the natural nails. Without getting too technical, the natural nail cells have an order in which the keratin’s follow very naturally, and if we follow a simple procedure this natural order can help with strengthening and protecting the natural nail. Emery is also corundum of minerals (Moh’s of 5-6.5) in which the natural nail seems to accept more naturally then other materials. e.g. natural hair brush with boar bristles which gives a natural shine to the hair. Just by simply filing from the outside to the center of the nail these cells will create a seal to the nail and keep the nail from splitting and cracking. One side of the emery board will shape the nail and the other side of the emery board will create the seal. This will keep nails from expanding and help them grow long and strong.
So as the conclusion, take the utmost safety practice, use the appropriate files!