ZocdocAnswersIs it dangerous to have fake nails put on infected nails?

Question

Is it dangerous to have fake nails put on infected nails?

Is it dangerous to put a fake nail gel on a fingernail that's already infected? I already had the plan to get my nails done, but I definitely don't want to worsen this little infection I have on the side of my middle finger. It doesn't seem to me that a gel would affect that area, but I thought I should check.

Answer

Nail gels are a popular cosmetic strategy used by many people. Unfortunately, they do sometimes have some risks. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue include your primary care doctor or your dermatologist. Nail gels are generally tolerated well. However, there can be some complications of their use. The first is that the manicure techniques used when placing them can damage the cuticles or the surrounding skin, which can lead to infection or cuts. If you already have an infection on the side of the finger (called a paronychia) it would be better to wait until that heals before having any type of manicure. Another disadvantage of nail gels is that they do damage the underlying nail, due to the strong chemical used to strip off the nail gel. Therefore if your nail itself is quite weak you may want to avoid the nail gels. Fungal infections of the nail is another reason to avoid nail gels, as placing the gel on top of an infected nail can worsen the infection. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition would require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your primary care doctor or your dermatologist would be recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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