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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Take A Break From Polish

Patients often ask me if toenails need a break from nail polish. The answer is yes! While this may be difficult to do in the summer when sandals call attention to polished nails, fall and winter are perfect times to give your nails a break since toes are usually covered up by shoes and boots. Here are four reasons why it’s a good idea to remove nail polish every month or so and leave it off for a few weeks.

1. Since your nails are hard, it’s easy to think that anything you put on them just stays on top. But nails are actually quite permeable. The pigment and ingredients in polish will soak into the nail bed underneath, causing them to dry out. Polish remover — especially if it contains acetone — will also dry out the nail. When nails are dry, they often become discolored and may separate, crack, peel, or become brittle. Dry nails also make it easier for bacteria and fungus infections to develop, which can turn into a long-term problem.
2. Nails that are always polished can develop a condition called keratin granulation. These are rough, white patches that occur when the top layer of nail is inadvertently removed along with the old polish.
3. Nails may develop a fungal infection or other condition that goes unnoticed because the polish covers up the early signs and symptoms. Toenail fungus is not only quite common, but also one of the most difficult to eradicate! So, it’s important to notice and treat fungus early before it has a chance to spread, grow, and get worse.
4. Fungal and bacterial infections thrive in moist environments. Nail polish creates a seal over the nail, making it easier for moisture to get trapped underneath and the infection to spread.

    Regardless of if you are taking a break from polish or not, it’s still important to take care of your toenails and feet. Pedicures are a necessity all year long to keep feet healthy and help prevent issues such as ingrown toenails from developing. An at-home pedicure is easy to do yourself — especially since you don’t need to deal with getting the polish applied just right. Here are a few important things to remember about DIY pedicures so you don’t end up at the podiatrist’s office fixing painful mistakes.
• Remove any existing polish using a non-acetone remover.
• Soak your feet in warm water with a little dish soap added.
• Trim and file nails straight across using a toenail — not fingernail — clipper. No digging in the sides as this will almost certainly cause a painful ingrown toenail.
• Always use clean instruments. I have heard too many stories about people using all sorts of tools (wire cutters, gentlemen?) that can have bacteria and fungus on them.
• If you want to apply polish, we carry a brand called Chrome Girl, that helps prevent and treat fungal infections, contains tea tree oil and other essential nutrients, comes in many colors, and looks just like regular nail polish. This is great to use when you are wanting to cover up ugly fungus symptoms, but you should still remove it every few weeks.
• Leave the cuticle and callous trimming to the professionals! Cuticles (at the base of your nail bed) provide watertight protection to your nails and, if not trimmed correctly, can cause serious infections. Buff callouses with a foot file, but do not shave them. Any cuts can lead to infections.
    With a bit of care, feet can look very good with unpolished nails. Use cuticle oil on the nail itself to keep them shiny and hydrated. Lotion feet daily to fight off callouses, cracks, and hard or dry skin. Use a buffing block to give nails a manicured look without polish. Scrub nails with a toothbrush and baking soda to remove imbedded dirt and help brighten them up.
    This fall and winter, remember to care for your feet and give your toenails a “polish vacation” to keep your nails healthy and strong.

    For more information on any foot problem, please contact Dr. Lockwood at Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates, at 309-661-9975 or heartlandfootandankle.com. Their office is located at 10 Heartland Dr. in Bloomington.



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