Many people consider the nicely-shaped, shiny nails as a symbol of health and youth, making them highly desirable.

Therapeutic cosmetics are used by millions of people worldwide, who want to have smooth and shiny nails. The industry of nail cosmetic products is still expanding, so that to cover the ever-increasing demands of consumers.

In 2011, consumers in the US spent 6.6 million dollars for nail cosmetic services. Despite the fact that therapeutic nail cosmetic products are relatively safe, poor application techniques may increase the incidence of certain diseases, nail deformation, as well as allergic and contact dermatitis. The most important aspect for the prevention of therapeutic nail cosmetic products is prevention through education. Familiarisation with the materials used in therapeutic cosmetics industry for nails is essential for the establishment of safe nail care strategies.

Many people rely on nail therapeutic products to disguise and conceal unsightly nail abnormalities. Lacquer-based nail enamels and ridge fillers may help smooth longitudinal ridging associated with aging.

Manifestations of psoriatic nail disease such as nail pitting, onychorrhexis, splinter haemorrhages, salmon patches, and onycholysis can be disguised with lacquer. Nail shape abnormalities such as brachyonychia can be hidden with artificial nail enhancements. Persons aiming to break bad habits such as nail biting or cuticle picking can employ nail overlays as a helpful deterrent.

Furthermore, therapeutic nail cosmetics can be utilized in the management of brittle, soft, and/or splitting nails. Brittle nails arise when the water content of the nail plate falls from roughly 18 to 16% water content. Nail lacquers and moisturizers may help maintain nail hydration by sealing in moisture that would alternatively evaporate (2,6). Nail lacquers, hardeners, gels, shellacs, and elongators can serve to physically thicken and strengthen and protect soft, weak, or otherwise fragile nails by providing an external, durable shell.

Despite the fact that no data exist regarding the estimation of the number of women suffering from allergic and infectious complications of nail cosmetics, the rates appear to be no higher than those associated with hair salon allergic and infectious problems. Of those persons who do suffer complications, many find that their physicians simply recommend that they stop using nail cosmetics altogether.

Therapeutic nail cosmetics are relatively safe and they are used by millions of people worldwide with absolutely no adverse effects. It is often unnecessary to advise patients not to use nail cosmetics at all and this is something that could alienate many patients.

It is better to choose those techniques and materials used in the nail industry in order to help patients on the safe use of nail products, through the establishment of specific methods and materials for nail care and also through the adoption of solutions for problematic factors.

The nail cosmetic industry continues to expand so that to meet the increasing consumer demand. For many people, nail cosmetics represent a form of personal expression and beauty. For others, nail cosmetics offer a way to camouflage embarrassing and/or unsightly nail abnormalities, and protect weak, brittle, or soft nails from trauma.

Although relatively safe, nail cosmetics can promote disease, deformity, and allergic and irritant contact dermatitis.

Therefore, knowledge of the techniques and materials used in the nail cosmetic industry is necessary in order to recommend safe nail care strategies to patients and recognise cosmetic causes of nail disease.

About the author:

Christofer Tzermias

A top specialist in LASER and Invasive Dermatology in England (Oxford/London) and North America (New York/San Diego) and a leading pioneer in the implementation of sophisticated LASER in Greece, Dr Christofer Tzermias is also the founder of the first and most well-equipped inpatient departments of LASER Dermatology in the Athens Medical Center, Marousi, the St. Lucas Clinic of Panorama of Thessaloniki and the Balkan Clinic in Thessaloniki. He was the Director of Invasive and LASER Dermatology at the Athens Medical Center for 18 years, from 1996 to 2014 and is a writer and editor of numerous papers and publications for international and Greek scientific journals, as well as, international foreign language books. Dr Tzermias regularly participates in international and Greek conferences, as well as, giving speeches and lectures at university clinics in Greece and abroad. He accepts appointments at his state-of-the-art clinics on Vas. Sophia 49 - Athens, and 71 Kifissias Avenue in Marousi.

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