What to Do About Unhealthy Nail Conditions?

The picture below was recently sent to me by Becky J., a nail technician in the UK.  When a new client walked into her salon with this condition, she wasn’t sure what to do or say, so she asked for my input.  Since this is an important issue facing many nail professionals, I decided to make it the subject of this educational e-mail update.

Here is my view on such things;  sure, I could have told Becky what I think this condition is and that would be in keeping with what often happens in the nail salon industry. Even so, that would be wrong to do!  Why? Only a licensed medical doctor can properly diagnosis a medical condition of the hand and this is clearly not a healthy nail.  If Becky or I attempted to diagnosis this condition, it would be a clear violation of the law.  Federal law expressly forbids anyone, other than a licensed medical doctor (or podiatrist), from diagnosis of any medical conditions for their clientele and for good reason! This includes any unhealthy nail, finger, hand, or foot conditions. The same likely holds true no matter what country you work in!

When it comes these types of medical conditions, only medical doctors can “diagnosis”, “treat” or “prescribe any treatments”.  It is easy to see the nail in this picture is unhealthy and should be examined by a qualified medical doctor.  If we attempted to replace the doctor and provide our own “opinions”, we aren’t doing the right thing for the client.  From any perspective; legal, medical or moral, it is always best to  instruct the client to see a physician before providing any nail salon services to unhealthy nails. That’s best for everyone concerned, especially the client.

Always refer such issues to a medical doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment (if required). Don’t play doctor! Doing so could cost you your professional license and you may become a party to a lawsuit or damage the reputation of your salon should something go wrong or if the condition worsens.
Doug Schoon
Scientific Expert