How do I help clients whose nails are frequently in water?

December 26, 2012 | Bookmark +

I have a few clients who swim or do water aerobics a few times a week. They have a lot of trouble with keeping polish on and their nails becoming dry. They peel and split. Is there anything I can do, or tell them to do, to help this problem? So far I have just told them to apply cuticle oil every night before bed to try to hydrate the nails.


Frequent exposure to water definitely contributes to peeling and splitting (brittle nails). This is because the nails can absorb water even more readily than the skin and when water goes in and out of the nails, the small cells that make up the nail (onychocytes) expand and contract. This constant change in water content puts a tremendous strain on the bonds between these cells and results in a weakening of the nail, which is what we observe when we see peeling and splitting. Swimming and water aerobics are great exercise and your clients should certainly continue to enjoy these activities. They should, however, be sure to wear gloves for added protection when doing additional wet work such as washing dishes. Nail polish is actually protective for those who swim because it helps to reinforce the weak bonds between the cells within the nail. Your clients’ nails may be worse without polish.

— Dana Stern, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in nails. She works in private practice in New York City.

Read more about
Bookmark +

What’s the cause of the pinkish-red oval area on the pad of my client’s toes?

I have a client who has a recurring problem with her fourth toes during the winter months. Both of her “ring finger” toes develop a pinkish-red oval area on the pad. Then a month later, when I see her again, the skin has become dry and hard like a callus, with the layers of skin peeling away to reveal a deeper, dark epicenter.  It’s extremely painful for her and, needless to say, we do not touch it. But it clears up in the summer when she’s wearing open-toed sandals, so I suspect it has to be due to the boots she wears in the winter. Plus she never puts lotion on her feet or uses a foot file in between visits. What do you think causes this?

We respect your data and privacy.
By clicking the submit button below, you are agreeing with Bobit’s Privacy Policy and this outlined level of consent.

Bookmark +

What are the big white spots on my natural-nail client’s nails?

I have a client who has been with me for about two years. She used to wear acrylic nails but has been a natural nail client for eight months or so. She has these white spots on her nails — big spots that are dry, but not flaky, right in the middle of the nail. I did try to buff them lightly but they do not come off or grow off. I had a new client come in last week who had the same on her toenails. She said it started after she had a pedicure done at another salon. Can you help?

Load More
a Bobit media brand

Create your free Bobit Connect account to bookmark content.

The secure and easy all-access connection to your content.
Bookmarked content can then be accessed anytime on all of your logged in devices!

Create Account