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Frequently Asked Questions about Nail Care

Q. What causes ridges to form on nails? Is there any way to get rid of them – for example, is buffing a good idea?

A. Nail ridges develop either as results of physical stress such as banging your nail against a hard object or as a natural outgrowth of the nail bed. The easiest way to even them out is with a ridge filler such as Mavala Ridge Filler. It forms a smooth base for polish. You can buff away ridges, but if they are a permanent feature of your nails, continual buffing will wear down the nail. Consult your dermatologist to see what she suggests as a solution.
Nail Care
Q. My nails look yellow after I remove polish. Is this caused by the polish remover I’m using?

A. Most likely it’s your nail polish, not the remover, that’s the culprit. Many heavily pigmented (bright or dark) polishes leave a stain when the polish is removed. When taking off polish, go over nails a final time with a clean cotton ball soaked in remover for extra cleansing. Since dry, brittle nails are more susceptible to yellowing, you might try a nondrying remover such as Cutex Polish Remover, which has a moisture guard to prevent brittleness. If nails are still yellow, don’t polish them for a few days, and rub them with a cotton ball soaked in lemon juice to help fade stains. Apply a clear base coat before applying polish again; it shields the nail from the pigments in coloured polish.

Q. I’ve hoard products with formaldehyde strengthen nails and help them grow, but now I’m hearing that it can cause allergies and can be drying to nails. Should I use products with formaldehyde?

A. Too much of anything isn’t good, and formaldehyde is no exception. Nail hardeners and base coats that contain formaldehyde work at strengthening soft nails, but they should be used in moderation. Three days a week is usually often enough to gain the benefits without incurring the damages. If you find you are allergic to formaldehyde or its derivatives, or it’s too drying, use a non-formaldehyde base coat or hardener, such as Clinique Daily Nail Saver.

Q. My cuticles are dry and scraggly. Is it true that clipping will make them worse? It seems like the only solution.

A. Never clip your cuticles. To safely get rid of dead skin, gently push back the cuticle. A good time to do this is when you get out of the shower. Here’s what you have to do:

Cover your finger with a terrycloth towel and softly rub back and forth along the cuticle edge, then gently push back the cuticle. Rub in a little cuticle cream, Manicurist Erena at La Dolce Vita Salon in New York City recommends cod liver oil for massaging nails and cuticles. It’s inexpensive, available in drug and health- food stores and works well.

Q. I have a hard time filing my nails so they’re smooth and evenly shaped. Is there a goof-proof procedure?

A. File nails as often as needed to keep them even and smooth. Gently file back and forth in short strokes, finishing off with longer strokes in one direction to give the nail edge a smooth finish. As you’re filing, stop every so often and hold both hands up, palms facing you. Compare the curve and length of the nail you’re filing to the nails you’ve already done. Shape is largely a matter of personal preference, but it is recommended shaping each nail to curve about as much as the cuticle curves.

Q. My nails are continually peeling. What causes peeling and what can do to prevent it?

A. Your nails are composed of layers, and when the nail gets soft, the layers break apart and peel. Using a base coat or nail hardener such as Mavala Scientifique Nail Hardener helps strengthen the nail to prevent layers from loosening. Artificial nails can also cause peeling: They block oxygen and trap moisture, causing the natural nail to soften and separate. To rebuild nail strength, use a nail hardener.

Q. Is there anything I can do to extend the life of my manicure? My polish is always chipping away at the edges.

A. First, make sure the nail is clean and dry so polish will adhere properly. Clean the nail surface and beneath the tip with polish remover followed by soapy water. Apply a base coat and let dry. Then apply two or three thin coats of polish, using long strokes and painting over tip of the nail. Finish with a top coat. If the polish chips, spot repairs instead of an entire manicure. Dab a little polish over the chip, then give the nail a thin coat of polish and a new top coat.

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