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Does my client have a bacterial infection?

December 20, 2010 | Bookmark +

My client of eight weeks suddenly developed two bacteria spots on her nails. As a school teacher, she developed an allergy to chalkboard dust. Her doctor prescribed medicated lotion. Can this be part of the problem? I have heard that other conditions can cause bacteria, such as antibiotic medication, thyroid problems, chronic yeast infection, and psoriasis of the skin. Is this true?


You are correct that the green discoloration of the nails is usually a bacterial problem called pseudomonas. It is a common bacterium that lives in water, especially hot water. Pseudomonas is often a secondary bacterial infection, which means it infects a nail that is already damaged, perhaps by psoriasis or onycholysis. Pseudomonas will often spontaneously disappear when the underlying nail problem is cleared up. There are several home remedies that will treat pseudomonas very effectively. The simplest treatment is to use diluted white vinegar soaks (1 part vinegar to 2-4 parts water) for several weeks. You can store the solution in a dropper bottle and apply one drop under the nail twice a day. To remove the discoloration, the nails can be rinsed in a diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach to 4 parts water) once or twice, but not for prolonged periods. If these simple remedies fail, a doctor can prescribe antibiotics for resistant cases. — Dr. Rich


Bacterial infections account for almost all green discolorations on the surface of the nail plate (under the enhancement). That they are mold and mildew is a myth, and fingernail fungal infections are also pretty rare. The vast majority of green bacterial infections are caused by improper preparation and/or application. Improperly cleaning the nail leaves it contaminated with bacteria that can grow after the enhancement is applied. Improper application can lead to lifting, which can allow bacteria to get under the area where the product has separated. The problems you listed cannot cause these infections. — Doug Schoon

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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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