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Nail Care & Manicures/Chemical burn to nail plate?


I mistakenly grabbed the wrong product when doing my mani, and used a extra strength callous remover, instead of a cuticle remover cream on my nails.  Of course, some of it came in contact with my nail bed, and started to burn, and it is then that I realized, oh s$@&!!!!!!!, I used the wrong thing!  I immediately washed then with soap, and they still burned, and smelled something awful!  They were also an orange color.....(?)
So I soaked in water and Palmolive to really get the product off, as well as used my nail brush......  Once it seemed that the reaction had stopped, and the burning stopped; my nails are ruined!  The ends curled upward, though my nails are not very long.  So I rubbed cuticle oil into them, to try and get them renourished, and they got a lot better.....  But still, I could beat myself!  I love nail art, I try to get creative every day, and the MOST of my expense in my "addiction" is on products to keep my nails hard, growing, healthy, and beautiful.  In just this instance, I think I have ruined them for the 7-8 months it takes to completely grow them out..  :(
My question(s) are; have you ever heard of someone doing this and getting an orange and stinky nail burn? And can you recommend any special growing out procedure/remedy that might speed my process along?
I take Biotin every day, and I am using T.I.P.S. oil every few days.  Last night I used a silk wrap polish just as a base, to put some color on, and it seems to be ok, but nails are so short, and still feel like paper.
Thanks for any help!

I admit I'm a little concerned at a callous remover that's strong enough to burn your nail plates like this. I've never worked with anything that strong.

It sounds like you've done everything feasible to counteract the reaction and get your nails back on the path to growing out healthy again. You might consider checking with a medical doctor to see if there's damage to the nailbed under the nail.

It's most likely too late now, since it's been a few days but in the future it will help to know the active ingredients in the product that caused the problem and know what the opposite is. For instance, most callous removers use acids-- salicylic or urea, so the burn would be counteracted with a base, such as baking soda. If you are using something that is a base, such as Blue Cross Cuticle Remover, which uses caustic potash (lye, essentially# you'd use vinegar #acid) to counteract it.

Most likely, you've done a good job at washing the substance off the nails by now, but you might try baking soda/water soaks for awhile too. And lots of oil and love and they'll grow back out. But do check into that callous remover-- it seems odd that it would affect your nail plates but not the skin on your hands and fingers. You might want to try something that's gentler.

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Maggie Franklin


Professional Nailcare: nail enhancement chemistry and technique, mancuring and pedicuring. I am not qualified to give medical advice or make medical diagnoses.


I am a professional nail technician with 17 years experience in the professional beauty industry. I am licensed in the states of California (license #M120766) and Colorado (license #8611.) I have been an active member of the online mailing list at since 1999 where I network with 100s of nail industry professionals around the world. Over the last 15 years I have accumulated several advanced training certificates, including the coveted Creative Nail Designs Master Nail Technician status, and personal training by Tammy Taylor, Tom Bachik, and Tom Holcomb. I briefly joined the competition circuit in 2002, taking first place in the second annual Strut Your Stuff Online competition in the Enhancement 2 category. In 2009 I have decided to make time in my schedule to get back into competition by joining "Team Pink," the competition team captained by current world champion nail technician, Lynn Lammers. I boast several contributions to articles that have appeared in both Nails and Nailpro magazines, including a brief stint as a Nails Magazine Help Desk contributor and now I write a semi-weekly blog for Nails Magazine while continuing to attend tradeshows and continuing education events.

Nail Tech mailist list at

Nails Magazine. Nailpro Magazine. Blogging for Nails Magazine since September, 2008:

CA license #M120766. CO license #8611. CND Master Nail Technician. Tom Holcomb Academy. Personal training with Tom Bachik. Two day advanced training with Tammy Taylor. AEFM certified for use of electric file. HRTE (High Road to Education) in San Jose, CA 2009.

Awards and Honors
2nd Annual Strut Your Stuff Online competition, 1st place in Enhancement 2. Member of "Team Pink" competition team 2009. 3rd place, Novice tip-and-overlay relay at IBS Las Vegas, 2009.

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