Stretches with fiberglass promise to keep the nail enameled for longer, ensuring a natural appearance, in addition to allowing modeling according to the customer’s taste: square, round or the famous stiletto, that is, with a sharp tip.
However, infections caused by the technique raised questions about the safety of the method. After all, how can gluing fiber filaments along the nail create a party for fungi and bacteria?
Reinaldo Tovo, coordinator of the dermatology department at Hospital Sírio Libanês, says that the process of placing artificial nails is, as a whole, problematic. By being positioned inside the cuticle, the filaments hurt the original matrix.
“Inflammatory problems, sometimes infectious, in the end, end up leaving that nail weak and altered”, he says.
The dermatologist Leonardo Abrucio Neto, from BP – the Beneficência Portuguesa de São Paulo, says that the procedure is usually done by those who have fragile nails and do not seek adequate strengthening treatments, which worsens the situation.
For the doctor, stretching should not be done on a recurring basis.
“Dermatologists like me believe that this is something that should be done very sparingly because it is a traumatic process that can lead the matrix to generate definitive changes and become irregular, with grooves, with a rougher, unglued surface”, he points out.
The technique uses glass filaments that are fixed to the natural nail with a specific gel. If set correctly and follow the curve of the nail, the promise is a natural look with strength and durability.
When receiving her clients, nail designer Gi Camargo recommends that those allergic to fiberglass do not do the procedure. She also advises that “if the person notices something different after stretching, the best thing is to consult a dermatologist to clear the doubt whether or not to stick with it”.
Among the care, the manicure points to maintenance every 15 or 20 days as essential to avoid infiltration of water and other agents that can lead to an infection or proliferation of fungi.
A professional in the field for 24 years, Negra Ba stopped using the technique. “I have some reservations about being dangerous for me as a professional and for a client, because they are glass microfibers, they are microcuts”.
According to her, when the fiber breaks, it can affect both the material and the nail. “As it can be glazed, the client will not notice and will spend those days with all the possible imaginary fungi entering because there is an open channel there”.
Among the stretching techniques, one of the oldest is the gel base, which consists of a layer of the product applied directly to the nail with maintenance every 20 days, done a maximum of three times. After the period, the product is removed completely.
The acrylic stretching technique is made from a mass with liquid monomer and acrylic powder. With the help of a brush, the mixture is molded by the professional and drying is done with natural light. Its maintenance is fortnightly.
The recommendation is that stretching procedures should be done by specialists who master the techniques and use products certified by Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency).
Pregnant women, diabetics, immunosuppressed people, people who have very fragile nails, allergic to the components used in stretching, who have dermatitis in other regions, had allergies in childhood or have severe rhinitis or asthma should not undergo the procedure, according to dermatologist Leonardo Abrucio Neto.
Itching and redness of the finger are the most common symptoms. The skin on the face and neck can also develop contact dermatitis. Seeking specialized medical help is essential to prevent the manifestations from getting worse.
The picture can get worse with symptoms such as pain and sensitivity in the nails, whitish or greenish spots and formation of pus pockets. In severe cases, even with topical or oral medical treatment, the nail may never recover because of the damaged matrix.
As the coordinator of the dermatology department at Hospital Sírio Libanês warns, “every time you touch this nail device, you end up facilitating the incursion of fungi and bacteria that were normal under the outer layer of the skin.”
He also states that it is important to maintain the integrity of the nail and suggests avoiding using the technique because of its aggressiveness with the region and exposure to infectious agents.
“From a medical point of view, painting the nail is adequate. Not doing the cuticle, but it is a fad that the Brazilian has incorporated. At most, pushing the cuticle very little”, he guides.
Anyone who wants healthy nails should always maintain the hygiene of the region. Avoid using acetone-based products and prefer nail polish removers. In addition, doctors are advised to wear gloves when having contact with strong cleaning products.
Professionals who work with the mentioned techniques, on the other hand, must protect themselves with gloves and masks during the procedure, in addition to washing their hands after finishing the stretching to remove remnants of the products.