How to Treat 8 Common Summer Nail Problems

Spa-goers everywhere look forward to the summer season when they can break out their sandals and open-toe shoes, but this is also when feet suffer the most. “When shoes come off and the bare feet or sandals are being used, that is when problems can start,” says Tamera Pierce-Marquez of Amber Products. “Summer brings household projects—yard work increases, and gardening and landscaping start. This is when the real wear and tear on our hands and feet begin. Manicures and pedicures repair, relax and rejuvenate hands and feet, and the summer is the best time for that care.” Find out how to identify and treat some of the most common summer nail woes: 

1. Dry Skin and Nails

Cause: Exposure to the sun, chlorine, saltwater, and sand can lead to dry skin and nails.

Remedy: To treat dry hands and nails, apply a cuticle oil, a nail cream, and a nail serum to hydrate and moisturize skin around the nails. Also, use a base coat and top coat to enhance the pliability and strength of the nails.

2. Calluses

Cause: Exposed heels and shoes without socks can lead to callus overgrowth, which is when skin thickens because of repeated pressure or friction.

Remedy: OPI’s Alexandra Falba recommends including a softening mask in pedicure services to help gently remove any unwanted calluses from clients’ feet. 

3. Fungal Infections

Cause: Walking barefoot where fungal organisms thrive can lead to infections.

Remedy: Nail technicians should advise clients to wear gloves when doing yard work, encourage them to use an anti-fungal and antibacterial spray in shoes after wearing them, and invest in a cuticle oil to protect nails from drying out and cracking or peeling, which can also cause bacteria to enter. And if nail technicians notice anything abnormal, like thickened nails or changes in the color of the nail plate (yellow, brown, or greenish), Falba advises that they tell the client to see a physician right away. “When treated early, these infections are easy to get rid of,” she says. “Discard any tool you used on the client that cannot be sanitized and disinfected.”

4. Melanoma 

Cause: UV rays can pass through the nail plate and develop on the nail bed, leading to melanoma. 

Remedy: Advise clients to always apply sunscreen to the hands to protect them from harmful UV rays. “The hot summer sun and sand can be a blessing, but when you overdo it, it can be a curse,” says Tatiana Dubrow, creative director at Duri Cosmetics. “Protect bare or manicured nails and hands from overexposure and over-drying by using sun protection at any time of the day.” Also, be sure to recommend that clients visit a dermatologist at the first sign of any unusual dark spots or growths.

5. Lifting and Peeling of Artificial Nails and Gel Polish

Cause: Warmer weather makes nails grow faster, which can lead to lifting of artificial nails and peeling of gel polish. All can lead to fungus. 

Remedy: Use a base coat and topcoat to strengthen nails and help nail polish last.  

6. Nail Damage

Cause: Longer toenails are more susceptible to injury and damage in the summer, because they are exposed and unprotected.

Remedy: Remind clients to keep nails at a proper length and receive manicures and pedicures regularly to ensure they are in tip-top shape. 

7. Fading Nail Polish Color

Cause: UV rays and sunscreen can change the color of nail polish, often to a yellow shade. 

Remedy: Deborah Lippmann suggests applying a top coat on nails and toes every other day. “This will also help protect against beads of sand wearing color away while at the beach,” she says. 

8. Ingrown Toenails

Cause: Wearing shoes that are tight around the toes and cutting nails too short can lead to ingrown toenails.

Remedy: According to Catherine Baek of Orly and SpaRitual, to prevent ingrown toenails, make sure to cut the nail straight and avoid rounding the corners. 

Read more: 16 Hot New Summer Polishes and A List of Sizzling Summer Nail Services