3 Best Manicure Tips for Healthy Nails

Recently, a Russian manicure trend has been going around, but there are a few precautions you should take before deciding to get one or any other treatments in a nail salon. When you go to nail salons, there are three primary concerns you should be aware of to prevent diseases and pathogens from getting into your skin and causing infection. And in the blog, we’ll also provide solutions to these concerns.

#1 Cuticle damage 

When you get a manicure, the cuticle is often cut down, and with a Russian manicure, it’s removed completely while the nails are painted with a thick gel. Since the cuticle is removed, you wouldn’t want a polish that could run underneath it. People say salon manicures look cleaner, better, and last longer, especially Russian manicures. Russian manicures are a dry technique manicure, meaning they buff off part of the nail. They remove the cuticle, which is the protective part of the nail, and repaint it. There’s no water for the entire process. It has to be done without water and with gloves. Water can spread bacteria, and infection can damage the nail.

So, you have to be very careful upon getting a Russian manicure because they remove the nails’ protective mechanism against infection, especially as they grow. As the nail grows, it has to pass by the cuticle. The visible nail is called “the nail plate,”  and it grows from the matrix. Once that nail gets long enough, it protrudes off of the edge. That is called the “free edge.”

The free edge first passes through the cuticle, which is a protective flap that prevents dirt, and bacteria. But, when you cut it, pathogens can get underneath your nails and into your body. Moreover, cutting the cuticle can cause inflammation and impact nail growth. For that reason, some people have had very bad reactions to Russian manicures.


You can simply ask your nail technician to push the cuticle back rather than cutting it. If they do cut it, make sure the tools are disinfected and soaked in barbicide or an EPA-registered disinfectant. Make sure there is no water being used, and the nail polish doesn’t seep under the nails. That can cause a lot of irritation as well. Also, make sure you are not being charged for a “Russian manicure” without it truly being one. 

#2 UV exposure from dryers

Did you know that LED dryers increase the chance of melanoma and skin cancers? The LED lights at nail salons are different than the ones we put on our faces because they radiate UV light with an LED light bulb.

In nail salons, there are often UV dryers with ultraviolet light, but the UV light in this dryer is similar to the UV light from the sun. UV light is damaging, and it can increase our risk of skin cancer. So, instead many nail salons have started to use light-emitting diodes or LED. But, these LED lights still emit UV. Yes, we are exposed to UV light from the sun all the time, and it penetrates into our skin. But, this can cause cellular changes and DNA damage. 

DNA is the blueprint that our cells use to replicate themselves and grow. If we damage or mutate that DNA, it can grow back in an unchecked way, which is cancer. Cancer cells are cells that don't act like other ones, and they grow rapidly. This can happen on the skin too, and melanoma is one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer. So, if we’re sticking our hands into UV light at the nail salon, we’re increasing our UV exposure even more. 


These LED dryers are not likely to do major damage, but we want to reduce our exposure to UV radiation as much as possible. So, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends “applying a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen to the hands 20 minutes before your hands are exposed to UV light.” You should always apply sunscreen to your hands, especially when driving, however this precaution does not protect against subungual (under the nail)  squamous cell carcinoma, a rare form of skin cancer. So, in addition to applying sunscreen, you can allow nails to air-dry naturally or use an air blower if you want to avoid these lamps completely. 

#3 Hygiene

Sometimes going to the nail salon can potentially expose our nail beds to pathogens. One common bacterial infection from injuries at nail salons is caused by species of  nontuberculous mycobacteria, bacteria that are typically found in water such as pedicure footbaths. If the mycobacteria enter the bloodstream through a skin wound like microtears from exfoliation or cuticle nipping, the follicles can become infected. 

Secondly, you can also be exposed to paronychia at nail salons if proper hygiene protocols are not followed. Paronychia is a bacterial (or fungal) infection that occurs around the nails, and it can especially occur when the cuticle has been compromised. It causes painful redness, swelling, and fluid around the cuticle. With severe infections, it may need to be resolved by a doctor as well as oral antibiotics.  But, it can improve with finger soaking or topical antibiotics. 

As mentioned before, paronychia can be caused by trauma to the nail cuticles, such as from pushing and cutting them back. 


According to a study on mycobacteria and footbaths, it’s helpful to avoid shaving your legs before getting a pedicure to prevent infection. Also, you can make the following observations upon entering a nail salon: Are the stations clean? Does the nail technician wash her hands between clients? Are there dirty tools lying around? In addition, you can inquire how the nail technicians and professionals clean their tools.

Furthermore, Cassandra uses press-on nails as they are more affordable, and they also make it easier to prevent damage of the nails.