Health Works: Give your toenails a break from polish

Removing polish and letting your toenails breathe is a good idea, experts say.

Who doesn't love a great pedicure that lasts all summer, right?

Well, you might want to think twice next time you leave that polish on your piggies for months on end.

Dr. Joy Rowland is a foot specialist at Cleveland Clinic and she says it's important to give your nails a break from polish.

"I always recommend to my patients a few weeks on, a few weeks off, but do not leave it on all summer," she said.

Dyes from nail polish can soak into the nail plate and dry out the nail. 

When that happens, it can allow yeast, bacteria, mold and mildew to develop inside the nail plate which can lead to long term problems.

Removing polish, exposing nails to the air and keeping your feet dry are good ways to keep your toenails healthy. 

However, if you remove polish and the nail looks stained or has a white chalkiness to it; there are ways you can nurse it back to health.

"I recommend putting something as simple as vitamin e oil on the nail plate and rubbing it in and then we do a gentle filing if we need to," Rowland said. "To see if we can't get the nail to start looking more healthy."

Nails only grow about a millimeter each month, so you'll have to be patient if you're waiting to grow out a discolored nail. 

Rowland doesn't recommend using polish during that time.


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