Whether you regularly visit the beauty salon, or if you couldn’t care less about your claws, the chances are you have been told some fallacy regarding nail maintenance or health – and likely believed it. Considering they’re such a small part of our bodies, it’s quite surprising how many rumours concerning our nails out there. So, the next time you’re getting a fresh manicure or worrying about a small blemish, keep these 5 nail myths in mind.
Myth 1: Cutting cuticles is good for nail health
Trimming or cutting cuticle’s is purely cosmetic and doesn’t benefit the nail in any way. In fact, it’s actually harmful to your nails. The cuticle is there to protect your nails from infection, so when this skin is removed, your nail is left unprotected from bacteria and fungus. Instead, soak your nails in warm water for 10 minutes and push back with something soft, or just use a liquid cuticle remover to dissolve the dead skin on your nail.
Myth 2: White spots indicate vitamin deficiency
This is perhaps one of the most common nail myths. However, more often than not, white marks are actually the result of nail trauma. The nail itself is made up of 100 layers of tightly packed tissue and if air gets trapped between the layers and nails are damaged in some way, it can show up as little white dots or lines. These nail bruises, also known as leukonychia, are nothing to worry about. They typically grow out although this can take up to four months.
Myth 3: Toenail fungus is just a cosmetic issue
Toenail fungus is an infection. The fungus gets in between the layers of the nail and spreads the layers apart, causing the nail to thicken and discolour. Over time, a nail infected with fungus can become thick and misshapen, making them difficult to cut – leading to ingrown toenails and other foot issues. If left untreated, toenail fungus can become painful and can even make it difficult to walk when wearing shoes.
Myth 4: Nail enhancements damage natural nails
While it is true that the chemicals involved with enhancements take their toll on nail and cuticle health, your artificial enhancements themselves are not necessarily the sole cause of nail damage. The technique used to apply and remove them is more problematic, such as improper and excessive filing, drilling, and soaking during application or removal process.
Myth 5: Eating gelatine will strengthen weak nails
Nails are made of a protein called keratin, which may explain the misconception that eating gelatine (also a type of protein) will strengthen them. However, there’s never been any scientific proof that gelatine does anything to strengthen nails. This is in the same way that despite there being trace amounts of calcium in the nail, drinking or eating more calcium-rich products won’t strengthen your nails either.