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For your nails sake, put down the scissors

It’s nice to look after your hands and to have even, well-cared for nails. But can you overdo it? Findings from a new study suggest that over-trimming your nails could actually be doing more harm than good.

Your nails harbour all kinds of bacteria, so it’s a good idea to keep them clean and tidy. It also pays to keep them trimmed because long or ragged nails can tear and scratch, exposing skin to the risk of infection. However, researchers at the University of Nottingham have discovered that trimming your nails too often can damage them and lead to conditions such as ingrown toe-nails.

Lead researcher, Cyril Rauch, said the study focused on ingrown toe-nails because nobody really knows what causes them and treatment is often unsatisfactory. But now,  findings indicate that trimming your nails too often could be the root cause of the condition. Nails have stress built into them, explains Rauch, like a building has stress built into it to help it keep its shape. Upsetting the stress balance of the nail by constantly cutting it eventually causes the nail to change shape and dig into the skin on either side. To avoid damaging your nails, Rauch recommends that you cut your nails less and trim them with straight edges or with a soft curve. 

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Cyril Rauch, Mohammed Cherkaoui-Rbati. Physics of nail conditions: why do ingrown nails always happen in the big toes? Physical Biology, 2014; 11 (6): 066004 DOI: 10.1088/1478-3975/11/6/066004 

ScienceDaily, 17 October 2014.

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