Should I Take Off My Nail Polish Before My Dermatology Appointment?

  • Dermatology - Women's Health
  • dermatology
  • December 6, 2021

Nail polish can hide concerning skin conditions, including melanoma and skin cancer. Remove nail polish before every dermatology appointment.

Lesser-Known Steps To Prepare For A Dermatology Visit

Most people know to prepare for a dermatology appointment by showing up with a clean, makeup-less face and body. But what about nail polish? Showing up to the dermatologist with painted nails may be hiding crucial signs and symptoms. Should a person take off nail polish before heading to the dermatologist?

northstar dermatology Should I Take Off My Nail Polish Before My Dermatology Appointment

Risks of painted nails

Removing nail polish from fingers and toes is one of the recommended steps before visiting the dermatologist. This is because skin cancer can form at the nail beds or underneath nails. If the polish is covering these areas, the dermatologist may miss detecting skin cancer early.

Concerning nail symptoms

Besides skin cancer, specific nail symptoms can point to fungal infections, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, or even health problems like celiac disease. For example, nails that curve and point downward can indicate disease of the lungs, heart, or liver. White or half-white nails could indicate liver disease, kidney disease, or diabetes. Red half-moon shapes on the nails could be a sign of lupus or arthritis. Consistently wearing polish on the fingers and toes can hide these symptoms and prevent proper diagnosis.

Preparing for the appointment

Besides removing nail polish, people should remove makeup and wear hair loose before a dermatology appointment. Signs of skin cancer can often hide on the scalp or where a person’s hair parts. Be sure to perform a self-exam before the visit so that any questions about moles or spots are top-of-mind to ask the dermatologist.

Tips for healthy nails

Besides letting a dermatologist regularly inspect nails, there are some more steps people can take to have healthy, strong nails. First, although cuticle-trimming is a common step in the salon manicure, cutting cuticles too short can lead to fungal or bacterial infections. Second, keeping nails moisturized is just as important as moisturizing the skin. Apply oil around the cuticle to help moisturize the nail and reduce the chances of splitting or cracking. For people with weak nails, a biotin supplement may help increase nail thickness and prevent breakage.

Skin cancer prevention

Overall, avoiding direct sunlight and using sunscreen daily is the best way to prevent skin cancer. Make sure to apply sunscreen all over the body. When spending the day outside, such as at the beach or pool, don’t ignore areas like fingers or toes. Skin cancer can still develop in these areas of the body, as well. Visit a dermatologist at least once every year for a full skin exam and schedule an appointment right away in the case of any changing moles or spots.

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