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by Vicki Peters

by Vicki Peters


This tip I thought I would address a problem we all encounter at our 
manicuring tables, greenies, fungus, mold and other un-identifying little 
challenges and what do to with them. 

Recently SherErvin posted a message that read: If a fungus or mold is 
discovered, should we take the artificial nail off and put a new one on or 
take it off until the nail grows out? Should we use Dr. G's or Fungoff or 
refer them to a doctor? Good question.

It is an area that the artificial nail has lifted off the natural nail and 
created a warm dark place for bacteria to grow. IT IS NOT MOLDž..we have all 
been told that - even me - it is and it is NOT. Mold grows on bread not 

The bacteria that is found on nails that makes them green is the same 
bacteria you will find on your shower curtain in the bathroom. You create a 
warm dark place for it to grow and it will. Heading this off of course is to 
have no lifting but we all know this happens from time to time to the best of 
us. That is why it is so important to prepare the nails for a fill or full 
set well by filing down any lifting and replacing the acrylic or whatever you 
are using. Acrylic nails do not cause the bacteria the space between the 
nails and acrylic collect moisture when washing hands or showering and it 

So if you have a client that has a greenie - tell her it is NOT fungus or 
mold and you can take care of it. So if the client with the greenie is a 
regular fill and she fills her nails every other week or so and takes care of 
her nails - and she gets a greenie - don't panic. The lighter green it is the 
younger the bacteria. Sometimes the bacteria was there last time you filled 
her and did not see it because it was clear at that stage and by the time she 
comes back in two weeks later it has grown and turned green. Remove the 
entire artificial nail by soaking it off in acetone. Soak it completely off 
and clean it and the finger from the acetone - you may want her to wash with 
a sanitized nail brush with a anti-bacterial soap and let dry. The with a 
buffer your going to throw away after use, gently buff the surface of the 
nail and greenie. Do not attempt to remove the green color because it is a 
stain and will not come out. It must grow off - but later in the tip I will 
show you how to cover it up on a pink and white nail. Anyway the darker the 
green the deeper the strain so live with it - if you continue to buff to 
remove the color you will buff right into the nail plate and weaken the nail 
until it may become sore. So after buffing the surface dust the nail and use 
a dehydrator, re-prime and reapply the acrylic. 

What is killing the bacteria is the exposure to the air - so you may want to 
leave this nail exposed to the air for as long as you can. You are taking 
away the warm dark place for it to grow by exposing it to the air. If you 
feel more comfortable suggest to the client to leave it off for a day and 
comeback in and replace it after exposure to the air for 24 hours. Soaking it 
in bleach, acetone or any other solution will help but will not kill. Only 
the air kills. So don't waste your time soaking in anything.

If the client with the greenie comes in with a dark green on her nail or a 
green that looks like it is going to turn brown then I would not recommend 
apply acrylic on it after removal. This bacterial infection is older and 
has been there for a while. Do not let the client intimidate you into doing 
it either if you do not feel right about it. Educate her on your expert 
opinion on this and if she insists refuse to do her nails. Loosing your 
license over this is not worth one nail. She will find someone else to do it 
I am sure. Your integrity is much more important. 

The darker the green the older and more severe it is.
Now if you have a client that has greenies on all her nails something is up. 
It is either your application or the client is changing her medications, 
having health problems or just should not be wearing artificial nails. There 
can be lots of reasons. Now if you have more than a handful of greenies a 
year you need to access what you are doing and re-evaluate your application 
techniques and take responsibility for the service you are providing. There 
is something wrong with what your doing. Now I am not saying to take 
responsibility for the client who comes in once a month with her nails all 
glued together because they lifted so bad because she milks her fills. That 
is not your responsibility - it is hers. Use your common sense on 
determining if it is your fault or hers. If she is not a consistent client 
that glues in between fills and gets greenies all the time you need to 
educate her and if she does not listen - cut her loose. Someone else can 
have her.

These little infections are beyond our manicuring license and you should send 
them to a doctor for treatment. I cannot tell you the difference I can only 
tell you that the natural nail usually lifts, sometimes can have a little 
orangish tinge to them. 

So make friends with a podiatrist or dermatologist in your area and network 
with them. Offer free manicures and educate the doctor when she or he come in 
to get a manicure so you both see eye to eye on the problems and cures of the 
challenges you see at your table. But most importantly - have the doctor 
culture the problem. I will tell you why.

I had a natural nail client Anne who came to me for years. When I first saw 
her - her right thumb nail was lifted 75% and had an orange color to it that 
she constantly tried to clean out even though I told her to leave it alone. 
We figured she got this from picking the thorns off her roses in her garden. 
Who knows. Anyway my gut told me it was a yeast infection - and I have no 
authority or knowledge to make this determination - however that is what I 
thought it was. Well Anne claimed she had this great dermatologist and would 
not take my advice on using an over the counter vaginal yeast infection cream 
on her nail. So off to the Dr. she went and spent over $100 on medications 
that did nothing. A month or so later I insisted she go back and get the nail 
cultured. She went back and spent another $100 on meds that didn't work and 
the Doctor made a face when she mentioned her manicurist suggest he culture 
it, which he did not. Months go by the nail looks the same and off to the 
doctor she goes again. Another $100 for the meds that didn't work. Finally 
when she went back for the 4th time I called her doctor and insisted that he 
culture it, and so did she this time. Know what it was???? A yeast infection 
and with the right meds it cleared up in two weeks. 

So let me explain why a culture is important. There are many different 
bacteria, funguses and yeast infections. Doctors "practice" medicine - it 
is not an exact science. So when they take a culture what they do is take a 
sample from what is under the nail and put it in a pietri dish and let is 
grow for a day or so. Then they take several medicines they think will work 
and put a drop on what is growing in the petri dish and see which one works 
the best and prescribes the medicine. So it is guesswork by throwing 
spaghetti at the wall and seeing which one works the best. Not fool proof 
but better than us guessing at what it is with no way to fix it. 

The Polished Nail in San Saba Texas has colored acrylics, they also have 
colored French manicure pink powders that are totally sense and you cannot 
see through. They have 10 or 12, maybe more different shades of pink.

Prepare the nails for application as usual. Use your regular acrylic and 
right over the greenie applie a ball of pink from The Polished Nail that 
matches the pink powder of the product you currently use. It may not match 
100% but find one close in color. With a very dry ball - the dryer the 
denser the color - apply a dry ball of the Polished Nails pink product right 
over the greenie. Then fill in the remainder of the nail with your regular 
pink and it's liquid. Use the appropriate liquids with the powders - do not 
mix liquids and powders. It may have a slight color difference but this is 
a better option than having to polish a color over pink and white nails. 

The Polished Nail 800/90-Nails

So working with greenies should not be scary if you know how to handle the 
problem correctly. We all need to know because we all will have to deal with 
it someday and god forbid they teach this to us in school! 

Any products mentioned in the "Tip Of The Week by Vicki Peters" is not an 
endorsement of any kind.

Vicki Peters 
"When you stop learning your career ends and your job begins"
Visit my new web site: 


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