Q&A

Does polish (or the polish brush) get contaminated after use on a nail infection?

Q.

Does polish (or the polish brush) get contaminated after use on a nail infection, allowing the infection to spread to other people if the same polish is used? I thought I read somewhere that the ingredients in nail polish kill bacteria.

A.

Nail professionals are licensed to work only on healthy nails and intact skin. It is beyond the scope of the professional nail license to work on an infected nail. Applying nail polish on top of an infected nail could be reason enough for a nail professional to lose her license. This could also be considered as negligence, should a legal dispute arise. In short, never provide services on an infected nail plate.

Although it’s true that infectious organisms will not thrive and grow in nail polish, this is only true when nail polish is applied to normal, healthy nail plates. It’s not true for infected nail plates! Any brush or nail file coming in contact with an infected nail should be immediately discarded to prevent transmission of the infection to other clients. If contact with an active nail infection were to occur accidentally, the nail polish should be discarded. — Doug Schoon is CND’s chief scientific advisor.

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