Nail & Skin Disorders

What Is Raynaud's Disease?

Nail technicians should be aware of Raynaud's Disease which produces a stark change in the look of fingers and toes.

Though this photo shows signs of Raynaud’s on all fingers, it is possible for Raynaud’s to affect single fingers or toes.
<p>Though this photo shows signs of Raynaud’s on all fingers, it is possible for Raynaud’s to affect single fingers or toes.</p>

With little known about the cause, treatment remains more a personalized trial-and-error than a prescription for relief. The Raynaud’s Association recommends taking proactive steps to prevent spasms. First, stop smoking. Next, dress in layers. For example, Kubik says she wears a lightweight cotton glove with a heavier, wind-resistant glove over it. Wear a hat. One trick to keeping fingers warm is to use an insulated glass or wrap a napkin around cold drinks. When a person feels an episode coming on despite these preventative measures, she should swing her arms around in circles to keep the blood circulating or rub her hands together under warm water.

While Raynaud’s may seem like a condition only for those who live in a cold climate, that’s actually not the case. Spasms can be triggered by the cold from air conditioning, which makes people living in warm climates susceptible to episodes.  


In those rare cases when complications from secondary Raynaud’s create problems such as skin sores or ulcers, techs should avoid performing any nail services without a doctor’s release. Barring any complications, though, manicures, pedicures, and enhancements pose no threat to clients with Raynaud’s. Hopefully the temperature in the salon and the fact that the experience is relaxing makes the salon a Raynaud’s- free zone.

For clients with Raynaud’s, take these simple precautions. “Keep a reasonable air temperature of about 72° or encourage clients with Raynaud’s to bring a warm sweater,” suggests Shelley Ensz, founder and president of the International Scleroderma Network based in Edina, Minn., and a Raynaud’s sufferer. Make sure the water in a foot bath or manicure soak doesn’t get too cool or too hot. Be aware that the whirlpool effect itself might induce an attack of Raynaud’s in the feet in some clients, says Ensz. Be sure to take special care to keep the hands and feet warm once they’ve been removed from a soak. Wrap the hands or feet in warm towels and allow enough room for the client to move her hands and feet if necessary to keep the circulation steady. Sometimes during the massage of a manicure or pedicure, the tips of the fingers and toes can become chilled. Remember to continually rub or squeeze these tips to prevent discomfort. Finally, ask the client if she would like to have her hand or feet wrapped in a dry towel to keep them warm while she waits for her polish to dry.


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