Is Nail coatings bad for my nails?

Some people believe nail coatings are nice but it damages the nail.


If properly applied, maintained and removed, no type of artificial nail enhancement can damage the nail plate!!

How can I be so sure? Well, I am reading quite a few articles by leading Nail Scientist – Doug Schoon and he is very confident that no nail enhancement products can harm the natural nail plate.

Nail enhancement products are not the culprits but improper application or removal definitely are the culprits. If the new growth on the nail plate is much thicker that the nail plate under the enhancement, this indicates overfilling with either a nail file or e-file. Over filling is one of the main causes of nail damage in the salon and we should therefore be very careful when filing the nail plate.

When we prepare to apply the enhancements, some technicians and even nail educators still practice and believe a good preparation for the nail enhancement is filing the top surface of the nail to remove the surface shine. 😕 This is a misguided and old practice that should not be part of a nail professional’s routine anymore. Surface shine is only the natural oils that covers the nail plate. A nail plate with no surface oils, appears dull. Only the surface oils need to be removed and not the surface of the nail plate. A good habit to incorporate into your salon is to allow customers to wash their hands and lightly scrub their nails with a nail brush. This is sufficient to remove any natural nail oils from the nail plate. Then very lightly buff the surface of the nail to slightly increase the surface area which in turn enhances adhesion to the nail plate. Now here’s the dilemma, what does lightly buff mean 🙁🤔. Use a 240-grid buffer and very lightly buff the surface of the nail. Less is definitely more in this case. The healthier the natural nail, the more efficient the adhesion to the natural nail.

On the other end, clients and believe it or not some technicians also, use very harsh methods to remove nail enhancements. Removing the enhancements properly is just as important as the preparation procedure. DO NOT take a sharp object and wedge it in between the nail enhancement coating and the nail plate. This will remove some of the top layers of the nail plate and cause severe damage to the nail. This method should NEVER be used to remove any nail coatings from your natural nail. This is as bad a practice as over filing the nail. It damages the nail and the natural nail becomes weak and makes for poor adhesion.

If you remove the nail enhancement by soaking it in Acetone, you should also do this gently. Do not scrape, pick or peel at the enhancement to quicken this process!! 😱 This will only harm and damage the nail plate. If the nail plate reveals dry looking white spots, this could be from picking or scraping the nail plate when removing the enhancements.

Off coarse proper removal takes time and should not be rushed. This is a gentle 💅process and rushing it could harm the nail plate. If you are not sure how to remove nail enhancement coatings properly, please visit your trusted Nail professional to remove it safely and harmlessly from your nails.

If upon removal, the nail plate appears more flexible than you think it should be, this is caused by the moisture absorbed by the nail and is not a sign that the nail is weak because of the nail coating or the acetone. This is a temporary effect caused by the moisture absorbed into the nail plate. In fact, according to Doug Schoon “Nail coatings increase the moisture content of the plate by 10-15% and this can last up to 12-24 hours after coating removal; after which the moisture content returns to normal, as will the nail plate’s normal level of rigidity.”

To ensure proper care of the nail enhancement, the nail professional should take time in educating their clients about home maintenance of which cuticle oil plays a large role.

Doug Schoon advices: “The benefit of nail oils is that it penetrates into the surface of the nail enhancement to increase nail coating’s flexibility and durability. It WILL NOT cause lifting. If the enhancement was properly applied to the nails, nail enhancement products form a tight seal to the nail plate and nail oils cannot get underneath, the oils will not cause lifting, instead it will moisturise the nails that ensures the enhancement will last longer and look more beautiful and shinier until your next fill.”

Using cuticle oils with vitamin E is NOT for nutritional purposes or strengthening. This is a myth. The nail can only absorb vitamins and nutrients through the blood stream 🩸 and any product claiming to “feed” the nail plate, sells us false information. So, claiming that Vitamin E feeds the nail to make it stronger is a marketing lie to say the least. Instead Vitamin E (or it’s more scientific name tocopherol / tocopherol acetate) is used as an antioxidant to help protect the nail plate (which mainly consists of keratin) from damage caused by environmental exposure like cleaners, hand washing, gardening etc. As long as no nutritional benefits are claimed, this is an appropriate cosmetic claim since there is strong science to support Vitamin E’s antioxidant abilities.

So, if you had any doubts at all or blamed Nail enhancement coatings for your damaged nails, I hope this articles puts that to rest for you!! 😉 Nail enhancement coatings does not damage the nail plate at all. In fact, it increases the moisture level of the nail and if properly applied, maintained and removed, the natural nail will remain healthy looking and you can wear nail enhancements all your life without causing damage to your nail.

Should you wish to read more about the science behind the nail, as I think all nail professionals should do, please visit

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