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have a client who has “hooked nails” where they curve sharply downward in the shape of her fingers.

November 28, 2011 | Bookmark +

I have a client who has “hooked nails” where they curve sharply downward in the shape of her fingers. If she has acrylics put on will it grow that way? Or grow straight? I’m not sure what she can wear for her nail condition.


It sounds like you are describing pincer nails, where the nail has a transverse overcurvature and progressively pinches the nail bed toward the finger tip. Your client should see a dermatologist as there are a lot of causes of this condition — some hereditary and some acquired — and she would benefit from a medical evaluation. Acquired pincer nails can be caused by tumors or cysts as well as many other causes. She would benefit from keeping her nails short and cutting them straight across as opposed to on a curve in order to prevent them from embedding into the nail fold. 

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

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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?

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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?

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