The nail cosmetics industry is enormous, with $6.28 billion spent annually by consumers in the United States on salon services. Nail cosmetics provide the opportunity for women to camouflage unsightly nail conditions and improve the appearance of their nails. Most nail enhancements provide a coating over the nail plate to hide flaws. The coating can be a layer of nail enamel or one of the three main extension systems: Acrylic sculptured nails, silk wraps, and ultraviolet (UV) polymerized acrylic gels. The end result is smooth, attractive, blemish-free nails. Adverse reactions to nail cosmetics and salon services are relatively uncommon and involve allergic, irritant, mechanical, and infectious problems. Nail cosmetic techniques are useful for disguising a variety of unsightly nail conditions. There are several conditions that may worsen in the presence of nail cosmetics. Because nail cosmetic use is so widespread, it is important for dermatologists to understand the procedures, materials, and rituals surrounding this industry.
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