Understand Nail Damages & Heat Spikes
Nail damages and heat spikes.
Why and how it's important to understand these issues.
Excessive heat spikes felt on the nail bed can be caused in several ways.
Understanding the science behind the products you’re using can help troubleshoot common application problems and see how they occur, this is the key to their prevention.
Excessive heat spikes are caused whenever unusually rapid polymerization or hardening occurs.
When polymerization occurs too quickly, excessive heat will be released in a short time period and that will create a heat spike.
So, what is exactly happening when the monomer and the polymer get together?
When powder and liquid are mixed, the catalyst and initiators react, causing a chemical reaction called “polymerization”. Polymerization is the linking up of the small liquid monomer molecules into long chains and networks, which in the end, are solid. Think of the catalyst and initiators as analogous to a match and a striking board - alone, nothing happens, but together, they spark the reaction.
These heat spikes from polymerization are happening for acrylics when it’s hardening and for gels as well when they are curing into the lamp.
This can expose the nail bed to a high temperature (sometimes close to 44ºC+) and can lead to a nail plate separation from the bed (Onycholysis).
Some likely reasons for heat spikes are: the use of an incorrect mix ratio when applying acrylic products ; the use of an incorrect lamp to cure the gels or the incorrect timing into the lamp. It is always recommended to use the Manufacturer’s lamp with their system of products.
It can also be happening when applying the Gel products too thickly, this will lead to fast burning sensations on the nails and those heat spikes, are sometimes lasting longer, specially if the product is touching the skin at the cuticle area or sidewalls. By applying thin coats or layers of gels and properly curing between each coats and layers, this will helps to reduce and can avoid the heat buildup.
Primers used on thin and damaged over filled nails can easily penetrate too deep and generate some burning sensations as well. One coat of primer is typically enough - applying too much can actually decrease adhesion.
Finally and this is a common one (sadly): overly aggressive filing of the nail plate can friction burn the nail bed and make it more sensitive to the heat that might normally go unnoticed. Gentle filing protects the nail plate from friction burns that injures these sensitive tissues.
The truth is that many salon guests and even some nail professionals are unaware that nail damage is NOT incurred by products. When the nails become damaged, a product almost always gets blamed, but there is a person behind the damage. It can come in many forms ; some damage is caused by the nail technician and the rest is caused by the owner of the nails. Note to nail clients: you can be the cause of your own nail damage. Some examples:
* That burning when your nails are being filed by hand or e-file is an indication of damage being caused, namely Onycholysis - where the nail plate separates from the nail bed.
* Peeling any coating off your nails in any way - whether it be by a technician wielding nippers or your own teeth or nails - from an enhancement down to nail polish, removes layers of the nail plate causing thin, damaged nails. Repeated improper removal of coatings can actually damage nails to the point that coatings will no longer adhere!
* “Etching” or aggressive filing on the surface of the natural nail to prepare the nail for a service can cause huge damage. Today’s nail products are chemically sophisticated and should only need the surface shine removed, which does not require much filing and definitely not aggressive filing. The average nail plate is only about 100 layers thick, so if you file 3-5 layers or more off the nails at every service, eventually the nail will be thin, weak, damaged, and incapable of maintaining a coating.
* Picking, chewing, or removing part of your nails in any other manner that takes away chunks or layers of nail is only done by a person and not a product. You could even soak nail clippings in acetone or nail monomer endlessly with no change in the nail.
Nail damage is caused by people, not products.
* Nail damage is caused by improper application, removal, or treatment of nail coatings and not by specific products.
Today’s technology demands sophisticated products that do not damage natural nails, this means the best partners for the best health and care of the natural nails reside : in the salon that you have carefully chosen to go for the best care for your nails and with you at home.