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Manicure Blues Find out the 7 grossest things about your fingernails

Kelly Ornstein at Valley Nails Salon, New York City, gives a dose of gross anatomy.

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Damaged fingernails play

Damaged fingernails


Ever read facts about your beauty or makeup routine, that you wished you could take back?

Well, this is going to be one of those.

There are some things we wish we'd never discovered about beauty but they are also very neccessary.

Kelly Ornstein at Valley Nails Salon, New York City, gives a dose of gross anatomy.

Warning: the things you read below might disgust you, but we feel you need to know for safety's sake.

1. Biting Your Nails Can Cause Scar Tissue: If you continue to chew your nails, over time you could end up with fingernails that curve are upward and numbed digits.

"When you bite your nails, you're doing damage to your nerve endings, which draw sensitivity," Ornstein explained. "Some people bite it down so much that they build up scar tissue there that affects the nail bed, so it can grow upward or at an angle."

2. You Have loads of Nerves in Your Fingers: There are more nerve receptors per square millimeter in your fingers than on your arms and legs. So that is the reason a cut at the salon always throbs.

You can avoid bleeding hangnails and cracked fingers by moisturizing your hands often. "Not tending to your nail care will cause all the chipping, the cracking, and ripping of skin," Ornstein said.

3. There's Skin Under Your Nails: The hyponychium is the skin that you can see growing on the under side of your nail.

"When you clean under your nail, sometimes there are little white frays, which might interfere with sealing the free edge," Ornstein explains.

Use a small buffing block to clear away the hyponychium debris or push it down in order to get a longer-lasting manicure.

4. Assume Everyone is HIV positive: "There's the universal precaution in the nail industry that you assume everyone is HIV+," Ornstein said.

"You are coming in contact with bacteria that can potentially have blood and infection, so we have to take measures the same way a tattoo industry would."

As a customer, you should keep a close watch that instruments are not shared between clients and that they are disinfected between every use.

5. Hangnails Could Cause an Infection: Those stiletto nails are cute on Instagram, but there could be all manner of germs lurking under your tips, including trace amounts of fecal matter and staph.

"Having cuts and sores on your hand from hangnails makes you more prone to infection," said Ornstein. "A lot of bacteria will travel from your fingers to your mouth, your eyes, your nose."

6. Soaking at the Salon Will Shorten the Life of Your Manicure: Say no thanks to the premanicure soak. "You shouldn't soak your hands, shower, or do the dishes, because your nails absorb water and the nail plates expand," Ornstein said. "Then the polish doesn't hold on, because the nail plates shrink back down as they dry."

7. Microtears Are Why Your Nails Break: In addition to applying cuticle oil and hand cream every day, you want to keep your eyes peeled for microtears.

These are the little pieces of nail that snag on sweaters and eventually turn into cracks. Use a metal file  to pass over the edges every two days or so.

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