Nail Designs and Ingrown Nails

A reader recently submitted an interesting question about nail designs, nail art and ingrown nails. Although I was pretty confident that I knew the answer, I wasn’t 100 percent sure. The question and answer is below. If you have some questions of your own and would like an answer, please drop me an email and I will do my best to answer.

Q. I like to pamper myself at the nail salon on a regular basis. When I go I frequently have different nail designs and nail art placed on my fingernails and toenails by the beautician. Will this cause me to get ingrown fingernails or ingrown toenails? Am I damaging my nails in any way?

A. Well, this is a fascinating question and I enjoyed researching an answer. Let’s first discuss the ingrown nail aspects.

Nail Designs, Nail Art & Ingrown Nails

The good news is that I could not find any evidence anywhere that suggested the actual act of placing nail polish, nail art or nail designs on your fingers or toes increased the likelihood of causing an ingrown nail. There is only one catch.

If your manicurist is not cutting your nails right it is possible that incorrect clipping and cutting may cause ingrown toenails and fingernails to develop. Of course, you would think that licensed manicurists would know how to clip nails properly (beauty school 101, right?). However, you would be wrong.

Perhaps, because the subject is so basic and we have all been cutting our nails on our own since we were kids that students tend to ignore it or gloss over it. There are correct and incorrect ways to cut nails. Nails should be cut straight across with gentle rounding on the corners. Often, and frankly I am guilty of this myself, we cut our nails in a curve and sharply cut our corners at an angle towards the edge of our nail bed. Tsk. Tsk.

Nail Health Affected By Nail Designs

The health, beauty and appearance of your nails can be impacted by nail art and nail designs. In reality, the same can be said for regular old nail polish, too. There are two ways that applying designs to your nails can cause damage.

First, you should require your manicurist to place a ridge filling base coat or layer down especially if you are planning on used dark polishes. Over time, repeated usage of dark nail polishes can give some ladies a yellowish tint to their nails.

Second, the manner in which you remove your nail polish is important. Acetone is a chemical found in some nail polish remover products and it is known to weaken nails and damage your nail plate. If you are in one of those moods where you are changing your nail polish frequently be mindful of this potential hazard.

Many nail growth problems and issues are directly related to nutrition and deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals in your body. There are products you can buy to strengthen nails like almond oil, but that is beyond the scope of this question.


There is really no evidence that designs and artwork placed on nails will cause ingrown nails. However, the pre-application prep work conducted by you or your beautician as well as your nail polish removal regimen will ultimately be the overriding factor in whether or not the nail designs negatively impact the health of your nails.

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