A manicure is a beauty treatment which uses special tools, creams, waxes and massage techniques to leave your nails and hands healthy and looking good. It is good for improving the texture and health of both your fingernails and the skin of your hands, as well as leaving them looking polished and perfect. Apart from making sure your hands and nails look and feel good, a manicure often has the side-effect of relaxing you; there are pressure points on your hands that correspond to other areas of your body. If you have an injury to your hand- a wound, or joint or muscle strain, or a rash or broken skin- you are well adviced to wait until you recover before you have a manicure, or else make your manicurist very aware of your limitations. A manicure is usually soothing. It can be nice to have someone touch your hands and nails, especially if the manicurist uses reflexology or other hand-massage techniques to relax you. You will probably be one-on-one with the manicurist, who should tell you what she is going to do and check to see if you have any queries or concerns. A manicurist will usually dress your nails with your choice of nail colour, and you may also be able to have more decorative nail art applied. A manicure can last from 15 minutes to more than an hour, depending on what you’re having done. Generally speaking, the longer the time allocated to the manicure, the more elements you can expect. Leave yourself enough time to get the full benefit of the treatment, and make sure you don’t have to rush off. If for any reasons the manicure takes longer, it’s hard to drive with sticky polish still drying on your finger! Whilst shop-bought nail polish often takes five minutes to dry, salon colour can take up to 12 hours to dry completely.Don’t wear gloves, or anticipate needing your hands for any kind of dextrous work immediately after a manicure. It may not be the best thing to go straight back to banging away on a computer keyboard, doing someone’s hair, or bathing your children if you have just had delicate solutions applied to your nails. However, manicure has its own ugly side. For many women, the beauty of a manicure comes at a terrible price. Although those who are on the receiving end of these beauty treatment face some health risks, the price is mostly paid by those who provide these salon services, and the cost can include devastating health problems and even death. In addition, the women often are forced to work excessively long hours, without pay during training, and below minimum wage once they are hired.Currently there are few published scientific studies showing the relationship between the use of nail products by salon workers and health problems, but the anecdotal evidence is horrifying. A new report in the New York Times related the personal stories of manicurists who have suffered from unusually high rates of a wide variety of health ailments, ranging from respiratory and skin conditions to miscarriages, birth defects, low-birth weight infants, leukaemia, and a form of cancer called multiple myeloma.According to a lifestyle blog Naturally Savvy NS, the manicurists are exposed to high levels of chemical fumes and solvents as they paint, polish, and file nails of clients day after day. These workers see doctors and complain about an inability to breather, constant nose bleeds, painful throats, skin disorders, fungal infections, warts and persistent coughs. In addition, NS reported that there are repeated reports of miscarriage, children born with significant developmental problems, and other maternal complications among women who work as manicurists. A study in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health recently reported on the impact of chemical exposure among women working as manicurists, saying there was an increased risk of gestational diabetes and Placentia previa when compared with the general population.In a nail salon safety publication published by the Environmental Protection Agency, there is a list of 20 common nail product ingredients that are known to cause health problems, and some capable of leading to death. Seventeen of those ingredients are associated with respiratory problems, such as asthma-like symptoms. In a study of nearly 1.900 manicurists and barbers in Colorado, researchers found that application of artificial nails as well as hairstyling and shaving, were associated with a nearly threefold increased risk of developing asthma.Other symptoms associated with these nail product ingredients include shortness of breath, burning throat, laboured breathing, headache, eye and skin irritation, dizziness and several are carcinogens. Of the known toxins, three are especially hazardous to nail salon workers. Naturally Savvy noted that dibutyl phthalate, a chemical used in nail polish and other items to make nails pliable can irritate the eyes, upper respiratory tract and stomach if over exposed, while prolonged exposure can have a negative impact on human reproduction and development. But, one study adviced that manicurists can reduce their exposure to this toxin by wearing gloves. Toluene solvent helps nail polish go on smoothly, but its health hazards are anything but. The Food and Drug Administration noted that toluene overexposure cause weakness, confusion, dilated pupils, runny eyes, insomnia, exhaustion, numbness, muscle fatigue and abnormal feelings of euphoria. More serious overexposure can damage the liver and kidneys and have a negative impact on the developing foetus.Another lifestyle blog Women’s Health Nail Expert and Dermatologist Frances Magiera, noted that the most obvious side effect of constant manicure is nail thinning. She said gel manicure do causes nail thinning, from both the chemical composition of the polish, as well as the acetone soaking process during removal.‘’Regular shellac or acrylic manicures also expose your skin to UV, as part of the drying process. The light emitted is in the UVA spectrum, which can contribute to signs of skin aging such as brown spots and wrinkles. Whilst this level of exposure is unlikely to contribute to the risk of skin cancer, it’s still a good idea to pop on some sunscreen, or a price of fabric prior to exposure.Magiera stressed that photo toxicity is another risk. ‘’If you’re taking certain medications, when combined with light they can cause an increased risk of sunburn, lifting or separation of the nail, or increase the risk of damage to the retina in the eye. If you a salon goer, it’s always best to ask your doctor if your medications can cause photo sensitivity or photo toxicity’’ She further adviced that manicures should be done in moderation and ensuring you’re assertive during both the application and removal process. ‘’Be sure to ask how the product will be removed, and make sure that they don’t use a gritty file, sander or other implement to vigorously scrape the product off…these methods can cause tremendous and sometimes irreversible damage to the nail and cuticle’’If gel polish does not come off easily after soaking in acetone, you know something’s wrong. The same goes for if your cuticles are cut or removed in prep for a manicure. For manicure addicts, all is not lost. Magiera recommended her nail care system, a three-step treatment that uses natural ingredients like coconut oil and grapefruit oil to exfoliate, hydrate and revitalise the nail. ‘’It is the first and only nail treatment containing glycolic acid, which is essential for nail exfoliation as it removes surface damage and reveals a lustrous shine’’ she said  

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