I shared this article on social media this past week. I thought it was important enough to share via my blog as well.
When you think about it, the risk the public takes when choosing to receive a Pedicure service, are greater than they have ever been. In addition, the risk we as Technicians take in our Pedicure room are all greater than ever.
Do we have the tendency to take things for granted? Yes!
Do we have the tendency to get complacent? Yes!
Can we afford to let either one of these happen? No!
I love our Industry and I love what we can offer to our clients.
- We have the ability to make them look better and feel better.
- We have the ability to educate them.
- We have the ability to save lives.
With that being said….let’s learn why we need toenails.
The vanity part of toenails is we hope they look pretty….at least most of us do.
However, toenails actually serve a purpose. They serve in the over well-being of our bodies.
OUR TOENAILS’ MAIN FUNCTION IS TO ACT AS A PROTECTIVE BARRIER WHICH MAKES US LESS VULNERABLE TO INJURIES AND/OR INFECTIONS!
Toenails are made of keratin. The same keratin found in our fingernails and our hair.
In the toe, live skin cells actually generate a toe”nail”. Older cells are pushed out as new cells grow.
There are six(6) elements to a toenail;
- Nail plate – This is the visible part of the nail
- Nail bed – This is the skin “under” the nail plate
- Cuticle – This is tissue (can be sensitive) which slightly overlaps the nail plate
- Nail fold – Consider this the “frame” which supports the nail from both sides
- Lunula – The crescent-shape part of the nail, typically white
- Matrix – The remote part of the nail “under the cuticle”
When you perform a manicure service on the toenails…..these are six(6) areas which are of great concern during your service. IF any of these are damaged in any way due to actions caused by the Nail Technician….something bad CAN happen.
What bad can happen?
- Too aggressive can cause damage to the matrix area which, can be permanent.
- Improper treatment of cuticles can cause damage and/or infection
- Improper cutting can cause ingrown toenails, infection, amputation, death.
To emphasize a bit more on the “function” of our toenails, let’s look in detail…..
- Toenails prevent injury; Why? Again, they act as a protective barrier to the skin. f your toes come in contact with objects, the toenail prevents the object from hurting the skin tissues.
- This is one great reason why “proper” toenail restoration can be life saving. Using products which are safe for skin contact, flex with the movement of the toe and easily removed if necessary is a key element in not using acrylic products when repairing a toenail.
- Toenails assist in fine motor movement; How? Running, walking, dancing and jogging can be difficult without a toenail (believe it or not). Toenails enable fine motor movement because they support the feet for performance of everyday tasks.
- Toenails keep bacteria & viruses away; We all know that portal of entry is all that is needed for bacteria or viruses to enter our body. The toenails are the barrier to discourage bacteria and viruses from being able to penetrate the skin.
- Another great reason to learn safe, proper toenail restoration to offer to your clients.
- Sensation enhancement; Nerve endings in our fingers and toes allow the body to process mega bytes of data.
So where does proper pedicuring fit?
It isn’t just about proper pedicuring, it’s about properly and regularly keeping the toenails trimmed and cleaned. It’s about YOU doing it right and teaching your clients how to do it right.
Taking care of the toenails is a way to prevent dirt and bacteria from entering the blood stream.
Trimming and shaping the toenails ideally should be done every 15-20 days. How you trim the toenails is equally important as to how often. Straight just to the edge of the toe, slightly rounded at the edges. What you don’t want to do is trim them to far into the nail folds which can cause ingrown toenails, leading to pain AND skin build up.
In addition, one thing which everyone forgets is dryness and/or flakiness can harm your nails making them prone too breakage. The best way to manage this is with daily conditioning.
As we age, problems with our toenails become more prevelant.
- They yellow
- They get thick
- They become dry
In addition, conditions like Psoriasis and Diabetes can cause the above to worsen, to thicken, become infected and smell.
These conditions can be treated by a Medical Professional however, educating your clients on proper care of their toenails between visits is the best cure. We call this maintenance. Do what you should be doing to prevent any of the above from happening in the first place.
There are many options of care. My favorite is our Mykosept product by LCN. The active ingredient is Lactobacillus rye ferment. It not only helps in prevention of bacteria and fungi, it aids in cuticle conditioning AND nail conditioning.
Another cause of trouble with our toenails due to several factors is ingrown toenails. Prevalent in both men and women, children and elderly….it accepts no mercy.
- Improper cutting of the toenails
- Involuted toenails
- Thickened toenails
- Dry, flaky toenails
- Involvement in certain sports
These are just a few of the causes of ingrown toenails. We know what the causes are and the affect of those causes. In knowing this, recommending at home care products is key to maintaining healthy toenails.
There are other things we can do in our pedicure room and/or educate our clients about. Unhealthy toenails can show up in many different forms;
Yellowing of the toenails is a pretty ordinary condition when it comes to aging. It can also be caused by certain nail polish products.
Usually nothing to concern yourself or your client with, however if the problem is accompanied by bleeding, pain, discharge or swelling you should most definitely refer your client to aa medical professional.
In addition, there could be an underlying medical condition which should be attended too.
Again, maintenance can prevent, along with;
- Proper shoe fitting
- Keeping the nails trimmed, clean and dry
- Being mindful and educating on applying a base coat prior to any color application.
In short, your clients are never too “young” to begin maintenance. In fact, teach them when they are young and the problems may never arise.
Blue-black toenails are truly of great concern. Some concerns may be mild and others could actually be life threatening.
- Nutritional deficiencies
Melanoma is one of the most heard about causes of a blue or black toenail. Although we should NOT diagnose, referring your client to a Medical professional would be your most caring action.
However, debris accumulation in or around the nail fold can cause infection, leading to a possible “mold” type issue. Keeping the toenail trimmed, clean and well maintained can definitely help eliminate this.
Bruising (caused my injury) can be concerning as well. Although maybe not painful, many have lost their toenail due to an injury. Bruising can be caused by accidental damage however, it can also be caused by YOU….being too aggressive when manicuring the toenails. If the toenail is lost, a toenail restoration service is perfect. Please keep in mind however, anytime you put a product over a nail bed, the use of an anti-fungal product is a must.
Centre for Beauty offers toenail restoration classes. Are you ready to learn?
In closing, let me say a couple of things;
- Neglecting the toenails has to change. It is time we as Technicians learn our trade in detail. Practice proper techniques, educate our clients and more importantly stay within the limits of our license.
- The anatomy of the toenails is as significant as every other part of our body. Develop a maintenance ritual and share it with your clients. You literally CAN change their lives.
- The article I shared with you in the opening speaks of the determination that dirty implements were most likely used during the service. However, it was the improper “cutting of the skin” which really began the problem. Is it time you re-evaluate your education level on properly manicuring the toenails….or….is it time for you to reevaluate your insurance policy?