You may be surprised to learn that scotch tape is a key ingredient when repairing badly damaged toenails. Athena Elliott, the owner of SPAthena in Houston and a certified Medical Nail Technician, describes her method of rebuilding toenails when clients have very little nail.
These toenails belong to a woman who is recovering from a fungal nail infection. She took oral medication and had most of the nail removed. Since her nail is finally growing back in, a referring podiatrist sent her to me for a “prosthetic nail.”
For clients with partial growth at the cuticle, like this one, I first use the “scotch tape method,” just as you would for a nail biter. Use the scotch tape to pull the skin around the toe out of the way, then apply a sculptured nail form over the tape. This method allows the acrylic to take on the most natural shape without skin contact. (Without a form the tape will not pull away from under the acrylic. The monomer melts the tape, promoting bacterial growth.)
A few important things to remember:
Always try to keep product off the skin.
When applying acrylic to the big toe, make sure to leave a small margin by the sidewall so that water will have a place to evaporate. In terms of maintenance, the nails require fills every two weeks.
You can see other step-by-steps on my website at www.medinailtech.com/prostheticnail.html.
1. Remove the shine and prep the remaining nail for acrylic application.
2. Apply scotch tape to the tip of the toe over the exposed flesh and wrap the tape around the toe so ends of the tape meet underneath. This is to help pull some of the flesh away from the free edge and sidewall area.
3. Add a form on top of the tape.
4. Apply the acrylic, covering most or all of natural nail. I use clear or pink acrylic so I can monitor what’s going on underneath the enhancement.
5. Leave a tiny margin on the sidewall so moisture can escape.
6. Allow the product to cure at least 10 minutes.
7. Slowly pull one side of the form out, working toward the other side. The tape and form come off simultaneously.
8. File the product.
9. Use a tiny brush to go under the nail to make sure there is no tape or nail dust left behind.
10. Clean the nail and polish.