I’m a nail techI’m always looking out for 5 signs of disease on my clients

GETTING your nails done is one of life’s simple pleasures.

Terwyl technicians are trained to give you jazzy designs, they are also taught to spot the signs of deadly illnesses.

Experts in their field say that signs of cancer can be present in the nails - as well as other health conditions

Experts in their field say that signs of cancer can be present in the nailsas well as other health conditionsKrediet: Getty

Praat met The Sun, experts in their field have revealed what they look out for and how you can learn to spot deadly signs yourself.

The biggest red flags they are looking for, education manager, Victoria Evans at Dermalogica gesê, are signs of skin cancer.

The main ones to look out for she explained are:

  1. dark streak on the nail
  2. een of ander deel in wat gebeur het – óf in
  3. lesions that crust or weep
  4. changes to moles
  5. wounds that struggle to heal

She added that there is a heightened awareness around skin cancer and nails due to the products used to get flawless fingertips.

She explained that this is because the light boxes used to cure gel polish during a manicure have raised some concern because — like tanning beds — they emit ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation, which is associated with a higher skin Kanker risk.

Risk varies due to the type of lamp being used and how often you’re having your nails done.

If you’re a regular at the nail salon it may be worth applying SPF to your hands prior to the light box exposure or try some fingerless gloves for added skin protection,” she advised.

She said that particular attention should be paid to any suspicious marks or lesionsincluding a black streak down the nail.

A nail technician as with any close contact, professionals should be aware of suspicious marks or lesions on the area they’re working and especially anything new and persistent.

Changes to moles such as in size or colour, darker patches or pink marks or lesions that crust or weep and struggle to heal are all visual signs something maybe awry.

When it comes to early skin cancer detection and working on hands and feet, Victoria said there are two types of skin cancer that develop on these areas.

These she said are acral lentiginous melanoma (found on the palms of hands and soles of feet) and subungual melanoma (melanoma of the nail bed).

Sy het gese: “Customers should be advised to seek medical advice and have the area assessed.

Skin cancer is deadly and is the 17th most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK.

It’s responsible for around 1,400 deaths each year, Cancer Research UK states.

Nail trauma

While a black streak down the nail can be a sign of skin cancer, one expert said there are plenty of times when these lines are nothing to worry about.

Praat met The Sun, former nail technician Katie Tunstall, based on the Wirral, said that this can sometimes be a result of trauma to the nail.

Sy het bygevoeg: “They can also appear due to an over production of melanin in the skin.

Katie explained that this is usually more common in people with darker skin tones.

If someone came in with these types of lines, as a tech, you would have to get more information as to when they first noticed it and if they remember any significant trauma that may have caused it.

If they were sure it wasn’t caused by a traumathen they should be told sensitively that they should see a doctorespecially before you carry out any treatment.

This is because if it’s covered up by a gel or acrylic, there’s no way of knowing if it’s getting worse.

Egter, Katie added that you should never tell them it’s a sign of cancer, as it’s not your job to diagnose medical conditions.

Fungal infection

Katie added that a fungal infection would mean that you couldn’t go ahead with a treatment.

These infections in the nail are common and while most of the time they are not serious, they can take a long time to treat.

Pharmacists can help treat the condition, with antifungal nail cream cream and nail softening creams.

Bacterial infection

The guru explained that you should also avoid having treatments if you have a bacterial infection.

This is also known as paronychia and happens when bacteria gets into the skin through cuts in the cuticles.

It doesn’t usually cause serious issues but if left untreated it can cause damage to the nail.

Rarely, it can lead to a serious infection.

Experts at the Cleveland Clinic bygevoeg: “The infection may progress to involve the underlying bone. In severe cases, providers need to remove a finger or toe to make sure the infection doesn’t spread to the rest of the body.

Severe, chronic paronychia most often affects people who have diabetes or conditions that cause problems with blood circulation.


Katie explained there are also other skin conditions you should be wary of before having a treatment.

Een van hierdie, she said is impetigo.

This is a common and highly contagious skin infection that mainly effects children and babies.

Anyone can get the condition and it usually affects skin that’s already damaged, die NHS sê.

People who have eczema are prone to it, as their skin is often broken.

Katie added that techs are also looking out for severe psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis, or ‘anything you see when you assess the nails/hands that you think could be made worse by having their nails done’.

She added that experts also look for things that might make it difficult or restrict the treatment more generally.

Hierdie, sy het gese, include cuts, bruises and open wounds, damaged nails or mild eczema and dermatitis.

You do then also have to be aware of reactions that can happen during a treatment or once you are finished.

Things like over filing the nail plate can cause pain and damage, and you should be aware of signs of an allergic reaction to a product, and also explain these to the client in case they have a reaction once they’ve left you.

Many nail techs are taught through courses provided by organisations such as Skcin.

Oor 600 nail technicians across the country have taken the training in order to help keep clients safe.