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Frequently Asked Questions & Concerns

Many consumers have concerns and questions regarding artificial nails and disinfection and sanitation practices of nail salons.

Concern: Artificial Nail products will cause my natural nails to become thin and weak.

Solution: Artificial nail products do not cause your natural nails to become weak, regardless of product (acrylic or gel, or even gel polishes).  Removal of the artificial nails or gel polish by the client and/or nail technician incorrectly generally causes this problem. Acrylic nails must be soaked off in a solution containing acetone. Gels must be gently buffed off, unless they are soakable gels. Gel polishes must also be soaked - not peeled or picked off.  If you pick or tear at these products to remove them, layers of your own nails are removed as well. This is why your nails appear to be weak and damaged, and prone to infection.  Please, if you are going to remove your nails yourself, talk to your nail technician about the proper way to go about it.

Concern: My nails have turned green and I have a fungus!

Solution: What you are seeing is not a fungus. It is a pseudomonas bacterial infection which is the by-product of bacteria trapped between your nail enhancement and your natural nail. This may be caused by moisture getting trapped under the enhancement where it has lifted, or unsanitary practices by the client. Occasionally it is caused by the use of unsanitary implements in the salon, or by improper preparation of your nails by your nail technician.   Please contact your nail technician to have this attended to.  This discolouration will do no harm to your nail, and it can be easily remedied. 

Concern: I hear it hurts to get your nails done. I have friends who say the drill burns them and leaves big red ugly marks on their nails.

Solution: It should never hurt to have artificial nail enhancements applied to your nails. At no time during the entire process should you feel any pain. That includes cutting and/or bleeding of your cuticles, or heat and pain from a file or electric file which leaves those big red marks. If you are experiencing any of this please ask the person to stop immediately. They are not using safe practices to apply your nails. Find another technician and ask them if they offer a pain-free service.  Note:  professional nail technicians may use e-files (electric files), not Dremels which are woodworking tools and have too much vibration to be used on tender nail surfaces. 

Concern: My friends have told me when they break an acrylic nail it really really hurts!  

Solution: This can happen if the acrylic liquid (monomer) being used contains MMA, which is a substance banned for use in artificial nail products in Canada. MMA acrylic is commonly known as "dental acrylic" and it is so strong that when it is applied to the nail, it bonds like cement.  This acrylic is not meant to be used on fingernails (it is used in the dental industry).  Not only does it create such a strong bond, it can cause an allergic reaction with overexposure.  It is not flexible enough to give when you accidentally catch your nail.  Sometimes this results in your nail being torn off the nail bed.  Not only is this painful, it is entirely unnecessary. How to prevent this? Besides being careful how you treat your nails the number one thing you need to be aware of is the use of this product in discount nail salons.  Most professionally-trained nail technicians use a type of acrylic meant for nails, not dentures, which is more expensive.  It also doesn't turn yellow, comes in a beautiful variety of colours, and creates safe and beautiful enhancements.    

Concern: My nails need to “breathe” so I need to give them a rest from artificial enhancements.

Solution: Your nails are made of keratin, the same substance that produces your hair. Your hair doesn’t need to breathe either, because, like your nails, it’s all dead. If you choose to remove your enhancements, that’s fine, but not because your nails “need that time to breathe.” Also, it’s important to have a manicure if you remove the enhancements, so it’s best to let your nail technician remove them and perform a manicure service right after. Again, please do not pick off the enhancements. You will be picking off layers of your natural nail right along with them, making your nails thin, sore, weak and prone to breakage and infection.

Concern: I can’t wear nail enhancements. They won’t stay on.

Solution: Some of the time, this is caused by improper application of enhancement products by nail technicians and/or incorrect choice of enhancement product.  Occasionally some medications will interfere with bonding between enhancement products and the natural nails, but this is not that common.   Talk with your nail technician about the issues you are having with your nails.  Are you following their home-care advice?  Are you using cuticle oil regularly?  Chances are, your nail tech can recommend alternate treatments or products to use on your nails to remedy the situation if you are willing to work with them.  Think of your enhancements as an investment.  Would you spend hundreds of dollars to have your hair coloured, highlighted, straightened or permed and then not take special care to protect it?  The same is true of your nail enhancements - whether they are acrylic, gel or gel polish on your natural nails.   These products protect your nails but they are not replacements for your nails, so treat them with care. 

Concern:  Are my nails really gel nails?   What are Solar Nails? 

Solution: It all depends on where you have gone to get them. Discount salons sometimes apply acrylic nails, then a top coat of gel sealer, and tell you that you have gel nails. They also advertise Solar Nails or Solar Gel Nails as something better than their regular service. “Solar Nail” is a trademark acrylic product of Creative Nail Design, (CND, the same people who brought you Shellac) and by the way that product has been discontinued and replaced by superior technology.  Discount salons use the term "Solar Nails" as a marketing ploy to make you think you are getting something better and charging you more for it.  It is simply a pink & white acrylic service.  There are also "Powder Gel" nails, "Bio Gel" nails, "Seaweed Gel" nails and yes, "Solar Gel" nails - this is all marketing to make you think you are getting something "better for you".   Any gel service must include an application (or several) of a honey-like substance applied to your nails and cured in a UV or LED light.  There is no mixing of powder and liquid involved here. 

Concern: I can get my nails done in under an hour and pay $25 for a full set at a discount salon. Why should I spend more of my time and money with you?

Solution:   A discount nail salon is unlikely to offer a professional nail service.  Their business model is fast and cheap.  You are not paying for a consultation, care, consideration, skill or years of education.  You are paying for the convenience of not having to make an appointment (yet sometimes you sit 30 minutes waiting for the next available technician).  Your nails will also look exactly like everyone else's nails coming out of that salon.  Your technician may not be able to explain how the products work, why you need that particular service, what it will do for your nails, or how you should take care of them at home, because they may not have received the proper education.  Additionally, they may be reusing implements on you that should not be used (if they offer to store your files for you that is a huge red flag - that practice was revoked by Durham Region Board of Health protocols in January 2012). 

If however you appreciate that your appointment time is reserved for you, a thorough consultation is carried out at every appointment to ensure you receive the best service for your nails and current lifestyle, I always use brand new disposable implements that you can take home with you if you wish,  everything else is cleaned and disinfected according to Durham Region Board of Health regulations, and you leave with beautiful nails that belong on your fingers (not someone else's) then you've found your perfect slice of heaven.  

Please take a look at the following video links for examples of what is NOT acceptable in a nail salon. If you have ever experienced this, please consider following up with a complaint to the local board of health. These are examples of dirty nail salons exposed in April, 2007. While these examples are in Texas, keep in mind they could easily be right around the corner from you.


Most of my new clients find me after a thorough search on the internet because they are tired of lacklustre nails and services and simply think there must be something better out there.  There is!  My clients are never rushed through their appointments here and my only hope is that you leave with happy nails :) 

If you value the health of your nails, hands and feet, are concerned with proper sanitation and disinfection procedures, want to wear beautiful, unique nails and like to feel that your presence is welcomed and that I value you as a client, please come to Scratch My Back Nail Studio. I look forward to meeting and exceeding every expectation you may have!