Long nails may not be as hygienic as you think: review

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Long nails can make a fashion statement, but there are microorganisms lurking underneath that can cause potential infections, according to a recent report from USA Today.

“The longer the nail, the more surface area there is for microorganisms to adhere to,” said Jeffrey Kaplan, a biology professor at American University.

“Studies have found 32 different bacteria and 28 different fungi under the nails.”

And whether they are artificial nails, long natural nails, gel nails, acrylic nails or just nail polish, they increase the likelihood of microorganisms lurking beneath them, which in turn makes it harder to wash off with simple hand washing, Kaplan added.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 20: Cardi B participates in the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 20: Cardi B participates in the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
(Photo by Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images)

He noted a study showed that a resistant bacterium, known as methicillin-resistant Staph aureus, or MRSA, in half of fingernail samples, which could subsequently lead to an infection.

“You can transmit fingernail bacteria to your system by scratching, biting nails, picking your nose and sucking your finger,” Kaplan said.

The bacteria and fungi under the long nails can also lead to a nail infection which can leave the nails disfigured.

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In 1997-98, after a Oklahoma City hospital examined an outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium often acquired in the hospital environment, epidemiologists discovered a link between about half of the 16 infants who died in the neonatal ward and the bacteria under long fingernails. , according to the New York Times.

The hospital subsequently introduced measures banning long nails in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that the use of artificial nails may contribute to the transmission of certain health-related pathogens. Healthcare professionals wearing artificial nails are more likely to harbor gram-negative pathogens. [like Pseudomonas] on the fingertips than those who have natural nails, both before and after hand washing, “according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention.

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - APRIL 27: Singer Mel B, jewelry and manicure detail, arrives at NBC's "America's Got Talent" Judge Cut Rounds at NBC Universal Lot on April 27, 2017 in Universal City, California.

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA – APRIL 27: Singer Mel B, jewelry and manicure detailer, arrives at NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” Judge Cut Rounds at NBC Universal Lot on April 27, 2017 in Universal City, California.
(Photo by Amanda Edwards / WireImage)

So the agency recommends that artificial nails should not be worn by healthcare professionals who have direct patient care with high-risk patients, as in the intensive care unit, and that their nail tips be kept to a quarter inch in length.

“Long nails are a perfect hiding place for pathogens, including viruses and bacteria that get caught underneath,” said Dr. Cristina Psomadakis, a dermatologist based in the UK and popular on Instagram as “Dr. Soma.”

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“I also recommend clear varnish or translucent finishes on nails. This allows us to see when our nails are dirty and acts as a visual reminder to wash our hands.”

But nail technician Kayla Newman, who is based in North Carolina, said none of her clients had any infections in her eight-year practice.

“Generally, people who have long nails know how to maneuver with them and keep them clean,” she said.

“If you spend up to $ 60 to get your nails done and you do not keep them clean, it does not make sense.”

BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 16: Influencer Marvin Macnificent's fingernail as a detail at "Place To B Awards" at Axel-Springer-Haus on November 16, 2019 in Berlin, Germany.

BERLIN, GERMANY – NOVEMBER 16: Influencer Marvin Macnificent’s fingernail as a detail at the “Place To B Awards” at the Axel-Springer-Haus on November 16, 2019 in Berlin, Germany.
(Photo: Isa Foltin / Getty Images)

She recommends for those with long nails to make regular appointments because nail strength can change as they grow with broken nails as the most common complaint – especially those new to them.

“Nails are a great luxury to have,” she said.

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“I encourage people to get them done, because when you look at your hands and see them neat and finished, whether they’re long or short, it makes you feel great.”

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