No, Your Nails Don't Need to Breathe (and 6 Other Nail Myths Debunked)

POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim
POPSUGAR Photography | Sheila Gim

When it comes to nail health, many people have age-old information they were told and have always believed. We hate to break the bad news, but a lot of it is probably false. Think your nail needs to "breathe" between salon appointments? Convinced that gels are healthier than acrylics? Wrong. Keep reading below as we debunk some of the most common nail myths.

Myth: your nails need to "breathe"

The nail bed is already made of dead cells, which don't need oxygen, so the whole "let your nails breathe" advice is unfounded. As long as you are visiting a salon that is safe and sanitary, the only thing that will happen to your nails if you wear a lot of nail polish is yellow staining, which you can easily remove in a number of ways.

Myth: the white spots on nails are caused by a calcium deficiency

These spots are called leukonychia and are not caused by calcium deficiency. It is actually caused by nail damage from things like poorly taking off your gels or acrylics or misusing harsh tools.

Myth: gels are better for your nails than acrylics

Both contain formaldehyde, xylene toluene, and other toxic chemicals that aren't necessarily good for your nails, so one is not healthier than the other. It all depends on safe application and the removal process by you or your nail tech, so make sure you are well-informed on how to remove gels properly.

Myth: cutting your cuticles will make your nails grow faster

While it's true that removing the cuticle skin will make you nail appear longer, that's about the only truth there is to that myth. Cuticles act as a barrier against infection, so cutting them increases the likelihood of infection to the nail bed. Gently pushing back your cuticles after applying a specific cuticle remover or oil is all you need to do.

Myth: the more you file your nails, the healthier they will be

This depends how you file them. You should never file side-to-side or use a harsh file, as this causes friction and can damage the nail plate. Filing in the same direction will give you the desired shape and won't cause nail plate breakage. Only use a fine-grit nail file or crystal nail file; they are a little more expensive but worth it.

Myth: putting nail polish remover in old nail polish will make it last longer

This instant solution to gloopy nail polish has been around for years, but will actually make matters worse and decrease the shelf life of the polish. Investing in a nail polish thinner will improve the quality of a nail polish and make it last longer. However, if the polish is gloopy beyond repair and the thinner isn't working after two attempts, it's time to throw it out.

Myth: nail products can provide nutritional value to your nails

Only food can provide nutritional value to your body internally. Cosmetic products can protect the nail, but vitamins infused within a formula cannot provide nutrition to nail plates externally. The only way to truly care for your nails is the obvious one: eat up and eat well. But don't forget to moisturize those cuticles!