Tag Archives: Nail Health

Best Bets: Acrylic, Gel or Shellac

Woman applying nail polish

Gel, shellac or acrylic? In this day and age, with so many nail trends emerging, and updated technologies on nail care, that question may be becoming as commonplace as ‘paper or plastic?’ But the answer may not be so easy to come by. To find the nail option that’s right for you, it may be a good idea to explore our choices.

A gel manicure is a type of nail treatment where a nail technician uses a gel to bind synthetic fingernails to natural ones. The gel can also be applied over natural nails like regular polish. Though relatively new, this form of manicure is becoming more and more popular. It is seen as a cure for chipping nail polish with super shiny results that last 2-3 weeks and usually costs around $35. However, there are also downsides to the gel manicure.

Gels can be bad for nail health. Manicures in general can weaken your nails. “The manicure process itself can lead to dehydration and thinning of the nail,” says Dr. Chris Adigun, a Chapel Hill based dermatologist. This can be particularly detrimental in the gel manicure process where you won’t be able to see your nail beds for 2-3 weeks at a time, to properly assess nail health.

The removal process in gel manicures can also be dangerous not to mention time consuming, difficult and costly. If you opt to remove the gels at home, this must be done with a 100% acetone remover which can be harsh on nails. A less abrasive choice is a gel remover which tends to be more expensive. It is then necessary to affix a remover soaked cotton to nails with a foil wrap and then a hand towel. This process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Wearers are also warned to not peel polish as this can take off layers of the nail and also cause water to seep in the nail, which can lead to an infection.

Acrylic nails, or artificial nails, are another choice. Donne Geer, co- founder of Hey Nice Nails explains, “Acrylics are applied using a liquid monomer and a powder polymer to create a hard protective layer over your natural nails. Acrylics only harden when exposed to air”. Polish is added later. Like gel polish, acrylics are also a long lasting option for fashion lovers. If done correctly, acrylics can last up to 4 weeks, outlasting a gel manicure. The cost can range from $35 to $50.

Like gel nail polish, the removal process is time consuming and can be damaging to nail health. You must use a similar process of soaking and wrapping your nails in an acetone remover which can also wear down your nail beds and leave them vulnerable to infection. Acrylic nails are also cited as being difficult to get used to and many say they look unnatural.

Shellac nail polish is a brand name for a new patent pending nail product created by CND. It is a hybrid meaning half nail polish, half gel. Shellac and gel are very similar but Lunchtime Beauty Q &A writer Christina Han sites some differences including the shellac polish being slightly less goopy than the gel. Also, CND sell their own acetone wraps which isolate the remover to the nail bed area saving your fingers slightly as acetone dries out nails and skin. Also, the removal is a quicker process but is only available at salons.

So which option will you choose? With so many different factors involved, the choice is not an easy one.   We can only hope that we made the decision making process just a bit easier.

Essential Fatty Acids: Vitamin F

Vitamin F, more commonly referred to as essential fatty acids, is named a vitamin, but in fact, is more accurately termed a fat. Your body requires essential fatty acids, but since it is not able to make these substances, you have to look to external sources to provide these essential fatty acids to your body. Below, find out what vitamin F is, what benefits vitamin F provides to your body and how you can get the necessary amount of vitamin F.

Capsules

What is Vitamin F?
There are two types of essential fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid and linoleic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid. Essential fatty acids are not synthesized by your body, meaning that it is necessary to get them from foods or supplements. These essential fatty acids are required for the normal growth and healthy function of your cells. In 1923, when these essential fatty acids were discovered, they were termed “vitamin F,” but as previously mentioned, subsequent studies shows that vitamin F is better classified as a fat.

What Benefits Does Vitamin F Have?
The three main benefits of vitamin F are:

  • Maintaining Skin and Nail Health – Vitamin F is critical for healthy skin and nails. Without proper levels of essential fatty acids, both your skin and nails will become dry and brittle. This means that your nails will grow more slowly and be more prone to peeling, splitting or breaking and your skin will be far more susceptible to bruising and tearing. Linoleic acid, a component of vitamin F, provides anti-inflammatory benefits to your skin, which make it useful in the treatment of acne. Additionally, linoleic acid is able to permeate the skin, so other active ingredients that you use, like antioxidants, are able to be more fully absorbed by the skin.
  • Reducing Risk of Cardiovascular Disease – Contemporary Nutrition suggests that consuming vitamin F daily will provide the greatest benefits to your cardiovascular health. Essential fatty acids play a vital role in the life cycle of cardiac cells and with the proper levels of vitamin F, the life and death of cardiac cells both function in a healthy manner.
  • Lowering LDL Cholesterol – LDL (low-density lipids) is the “bad” cholesterol and by consuming adequate amounts of vitamin F can help to lower the levels of LDL in your blood. Lowering the levels of LDL in your blood improves your overall circulation which lowers your risk of infections and increases your ability to heal from illnesses.
  • Mental Health Benefits – There is no conclusive evidence to support or refute the claims that essential fatty acids can help reduce anxiety and alleviate depression, but preliminary studies on the subject are encouraging.

Because your body doesn’t synthesize vitamin F, you will have to consume foods that contain essential fatty acids, or take supplements. Soybean, safflower and corn oils are all excellent sources of linoleic acid and flaxseed oil is the best dietary source of alpha-linolenic acid. Salmon, tuna and halibut are all sources of omega-3 fatty acids, while foods like brazil nuts, pecans and roasted sunflower seeds are sources of linoleic acid. Enjoy vitamin F for healthy skin and nails, lower cholesterol and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.