Is Your Manicure Safe?

The manicure is being updated with longer-lasting polishes, strengthening treatments  and lots of glitz and glamour. Big question is are these new developments safe? 

Here is a short dermatological review of what to expect and what to look for during a safe mani or pedi to ensure, you are doing it safely.

Is There Any Danger Of Harmful Chemical Exposure?

With new trends in nail aestherics, consumers are revisiting concerns about safety. Some polish manufacturers make a point of stating that their formulations do not contain certain ingredients—for example:
Toluene: a liquid solvent. It helps nail polish go on smoothly and adhere evenly to the nail. Toluene has been linked to air pollution hence, its not that readily present in product available in the first world markets.
DBP: a plasticizer, that was phased out years ago. It acts as a binder to improve the lasting power of nail lacquer and prevent chips and cracks.  It is toxic and known to cause cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin/eye/lung irritation, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption and persistence and bioaccumulation in wildlife.
Formaldehyde: it is used in some nail hardeners to make the polish tough and resilient  It is toxic and is known to cause cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, allergies and immunotoxicity, occupational hazards, organ system toxicity, skin/eye/lung irritation and biochemical or cellular level changes.
Methyl Methacrylate: is used in gel manicures. Over the last couple of years, the gel manicure has grown in popularity: Two-thirds of salons now offer the service, which is supposed to provide the long wear of an acrylic without the accompanying nail damage. Be wary of too-good-to-be-true prices. It might indicate use of the bonding liquid methyl methacrylate (MMA), which is much cheaper than the alternative ethyl methacrylate (EMA). Industry observers say MMA is still being widely used for traditional acrylic nails. It’s a powerful adhesive, a technician must aggressively file your nail to get it off.  That’s a threat to consumers. On a weekly basis, women are getting damaged nails and infections.

What about the dangers of UV exposure during drying? 

A case study by Austin-based University of Texas researchers in the "Archives of Dermatology" in April 2009 reported that two women developed non-melanoma skin cancer on the tops of their hands from exposure to nail lamps. Both women were middle-aged, otherwise healthy, and had no cancer history. This does not prove that UV nail lamps definitely cause skin cancer; larger clinical studies will be necessary to determine a link. Word of advice use UV nail lamps in as limited a fashion as possible. Another option may be to look for a salon that uses LED (light emitting diode) instead of UV dryers. 

How About Risk Of Developing Allergies?

Manicures have been linked to allergic reactions in people. An allergy may be aggravated, because of chemicals normally present in most nail products. Products that can trigger off allergies are – nail polish, nail hardeners, base coats, top coats and artificial nails. Common allergic reactions that are usually observed with mani pedi's include – inflammation, itchiness, redness of the skin and a burning sensation. These allergic reactions normally take place in the area below the nail. In some cases, they could also affect a person’s face and neck. Other problems associated with manicures are – brittle nails, stains and discolored nails.

How About Risk Of Fungal And Bacterial Infections?

Use of EMA and aggressive filing increases the risk of developing nail infections during a manicure.
Since manicure and pedicure tools can become contaminated with bacteria, fungi and blood-borne viruses such as HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C, it is important that these tools are cleaned and disinfected using proper sterilization procedures prior to reuse. Or depending on the tool; some tools should be disposable and should not be reused.

You should always ask at your salon if they disinfect their tools sufficiently, so you are not at risk for bacterial and fungal infections. If you’re unsure, ask about sterilization methods (an establishment that takes infection control seriously should be eager to tell you about it).
If you’re still skeptical, bring your own tools or find a salon that offers each client a separate set.
Regardless of the tools used, avoid having your cuticles trimmed since that can promote infection. And contact your physician if your fingers burn, itch, sting, or turn red after a manicure.

Signs of Fungal Infection:

Nail fungal infections usually start off as a white or yellow spot at the tip of the nail. Later, as the fungus spreads, the nail may become discolored, thicken, lose luster and shine, change in shape and develop crumbling edges. For some people, it may also cause pain, odor or separation of the nail from the nail bed.

What should I expect from my nail technician?

  • If an infection is suspected on your skin or nails, you should be denied service and be advised to see a doctor. 
  • A nail technician should never provide you with treatment for nail mould or fungus.
  • The nail technician should be willing to answer all your questions about the procedure and any infection prevention steps taken.
  • The salon should be well-lit, clean and tidy.


Vitamin A May Play Role in Reducing Rates of Melanoma

The Journal of Investigative Dermatology (JID) recently published an article online that reveals that supplementation with retinol, a type of vitamin A, may play a role in reducing melanoma rates among women.
According to the study authors, who are affiliated with Kaiser Permanente Northern California, previous research has demonstrated that intake of vitamin A and carotenoids may have chemopreventive benefits against melanoma. 
The researchers followed 69,635 men and women for an average of 5.84 years with follow-up visits, during which 566 cases of incident melanoma were identified. According to the study abstract in JID, “Baseline use of individual retinol supplements was associated with a significant reduction in melanoma risk (HR: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.41–0.89).” High-dose retinol supplementation was also associated with a reduction of melanoma risk (HR: 0.74; 95% CI: 0.55–1.00) in comparison to non-users. The authors also found that the reduction in risk of melanoma was stronger in sun-exposed sites.
No association between melanoma risk and dietary or total intake of vitamin A or carotenoids was observed. The researchers concluded: “Retinol supplementation may have a preventative role in melanoma among women.”


The Root of Healthy Hair

It’s easy to forget that under all your hair is skin that needs care and attention — just like the rest of your skin. Taking care of your scalp pays off in the form of healthy, beautiful hair. The hair follicles are influenced by the health and blood supply of the surrounding tissue.

Avoid Irritating Ingredients

Any ingredient that dries out your skin will make an itchy scalp worse. Fatty alcohols are moisturizing, and can be identified by terms like stearylcetyl, and myristyl. The other alcohols are drying — for example, alcohol denat (denatured), ethanol, propanol, and isopropyl alcohol. You should check ingredients lists and avoid hair products that contain the drying alcohols.
Also, be mindful of menthol, an alcohol that has the cooling properties of peppermint — while it may invigorate normal scalps, it can provoke itching in sensitive scalps.
Salicylic acid is often included in products to treat flaking scalps, but it should not be used more than once a week because it can cause irritation instead of gentle exfoliation.

Don't Skip Shampooing

The growing trend of skipping washes to keep hair naturally hydrated is not only misguided but can do more damage than good. Thorough cleansing is critical for a healthy scalp; imagine how your face would look if you only washed it once a week. You should wash your scalp at least every two to three days for optimal health.
As for the claim that regular washing strips the scalp of essential oils, proper cleansing removes dirt, grime, and pollutants from hair — not moisture. Shampoos that are sulfate-free offer a gentler cleansing than harsh, detergent-containing ones. Also, look for silk and wheat proteins in ingredients lists — they're among the best additives to help your hair retain moisture and stay manageable.

Make Massage a Habit

Scalp massage promotes blood circulation, which stimulates hair follicles to produce thicker, more lustrous hair growth. Make it part of your shampoo routine. After applying shampoo, gently massage your fingertips over your scalp in a gentle kneading motion for about 30 seconds.
If your scalp is dry, consider a prewash massage with nurturing oils. Choose antioxidant-rich argan oil, grapeseed oil, or naturally antibacterial and soothing lavender oil. Before shampooing, work a few drops of oil into your scalp by slowly massaging with the pads of your fingers for a few minutes.

Feed Your Scalp

Like any other part of the body, your hair and scalp thrive when fed rich nutrients. Olive oil, which is rich in fatty acids, beta-carotene, and antioxidants, is one of the most hydrating ingredients to look for in hair care products. Olive oil softens scaling and moisturizes the scalp, creating conditions for optimum hair growth.
Vitamin E, which has been shown to improve scalp circulation, resulting in the stimulation of hair growth, is another effective ingredient. If you want to step up the game and go for professional help try scalp mesotherapy it helps to put vitamins and nutrients directly into the scalp improving circulation and straightening the weakened roots.

Find the Best Brush

A brush can do more damage than a hair dryer if used incorrectly and too vigorously. Choose a brush made of soft, pliable plastic because plastic is far smoother and is kinder to hair than abrasive boar bristles and natural bristles. And look for a brush whose bristles are ball-tipped. Natural bristles are typically barbed at the ends and tightly packed which can cause unnecessary trauma to hair.
Vented brushes allow for smoother brushing and more even heat dispersion during blow-drying, allowing hair to dry faster and without “hot spots” that can burn the scalp and hair. Brush your hair lightly, and if possible, use a wide-toothed comb — the gentlest option of all. You can also look for the new generation of plastic combs at the drugstore; infused with hydrators like macadamia nut oil, they're particularly useful if your hair and scalp are dry and you’re prone to static and flyaways.

Use Sun Shields

The sun's dangerous UV rays are no friend to your skin — and that includes your scalp. Prolonged sun exposure can burn your scalp and cause itching from dehydration. Repeated exposure can dry out your hair and making it feel and look brittle, aging it the way sun exposure ages skin — giving it a coarser, dryer texture. Most importantly, you also need to guard against skin cancer — dangerous scalp moles often escape notice until it’s too late. If you part your hair while in the sun apply a waxy sunscreen stick or SPF lip balm to your part for protection.


No Surgery Nose Job

Traditionally a nose job is called rhinoplasty. The procedure involves incisions in the columella or nostrils and through these openings the surgeon manipulates cartilage and bone to straighten, shorten or slim the nose.

The Non surgical rhinoplasty is a procedure that uses dermal fillers to achieve reshaping of the nose without surgery. Downside of the procedure is that not all nose concerns can be addressed non-surgically. We can straighten the nose, lift the tip, remove any bumps but can’t reduce the size or height of nose.

What does a non surgical rhinoplasty procedure involve?
  • Topical numbing is applied for 20-30 min.s to help reduce the pain of the injections.
  • A dermal filler is injected under the skin to camouflage defects.
  • The results of the treatment are immediately visible.
  • The length of time results will last depends on individual factors but usually you’ll need to reinject after 1 year.
  • There is usually some swelling after the treatment and sometimes there are minor bruises, which go away in 1-2 weeks time.

What Treatments Are Suitable For A Non Surgical Approach?
  • A flat bridge: typical of Asian ethnicity dermal filler placement can create a subtle increase in height
  • Slightly crooked nose
  • Bump or hook on the bridge of the nose can be camouflaged
  • Nose that appears too large or too small in comparison with other facial features
  • Nose that is crooked or off-center
  • Nose that was injured so that the it is asymmetrical
  • Nose that needs refinement after surgical rhinoplasty