White & flaky toe nails
I recently acquired a new Manicure/Pedicure client whose toenails seem to be very white and flaky. What is this? I have heard of something called Formaldehyde Burn which stems from constant polish use. Any truth to this? There is no separation of nail plate from nail bed and the nails appear to be fungus-free (at least the kind of fungus that attacks under the nail) Could this be a fungus infection of a diff. type? info would be appreciatd Terry 7/03First, find out what she's been using on her nails. Is she using nail polish, or nail hardeners?
Nail hardeners often contain a small amount of formaldehyde (at FDA-permissible levels), to crosslink the nail protein -- but their overuse, or use on a sensitive person, can create problems. On the other hand, ordinary nail polish is constantly, falsely accused of containing formaldehyde because it contains a polymer called "tosylamide/formaldehyde resin". This resin is very different from formaldehyde in its properties and behavior -- it won't crosslink your nails no matter how often you use it -- yet, because of the similar name, confusion occurs.
So it's important to find out exactly what she's using. When in doubt, call the manufacturer of the product and ask for an ingredient list. Also be sure to get a Material Safety Data Sheet ("MSDS") for each product, which should be available where the products were purchased -- or, if not, the manufacturer can provide that also.
Secondly, a visit to the physician is in order. Symptoms such as these could be from fungus infections, allergies to one or more ingredients, overuse of formaldehyde-containing hardeners, or the side effects of medication -- and neither chemists nor nailtechs are qualified to diagnose or treat these things. So send your client to the doctor. She should take samples, ingredient lists, and the MSDS of the products she's been using, in case her doctor needs to review them.
Paul Bryson, Ph.D.
Co-Director of Research & Development
O. P. I. Products, Inc.
Dr. Oscar Mix