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Why aren't my client's nails growing and what can I do to get them to grow?

August 10, 2009 | Bookmark +

One of my clients has worn acrylic extensions on her nails for several years. She used to live in Florida, and her nail technician there used a drill on her nails. Since then, her nails have stopped growing. They grow about three-quarters of the way out on her nail bed, and stop. There has been no new growth for several years. What has happened to her nails, and how can I get them to grow? Also, can she wear extensions? I put fiberglass wraps on her nails last week and they all fell off in just a few days. Is this problem related to her nail bed problem?


Nails do not stop growing. Some nails appear to stop growing when in fact they may grow at an abnormally slow rate. In addition, if they grow out only a certain distance on the nail bed and no farther it is not because there is no growth; rather, some people have nails that are more fragile than normal. They break readily and do not grow past the nail bed.

There is no known way to make nails grow faster or longer; however, intake of multi-vitamins, and minerals along with biotin supplements has been reported to help some people. Extensions may be worn if your client is not allergic to the product. However, a periodic rest without any nail products may also be helpful.

I cannot explain the loss of the fiberglass nails, but I do suggest a dermatologic evaluation if there is a nail bed problem.

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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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