This Glossary series contains some of the terminology associated with natural and artificial nails, procedures, and a few important product or additive definitions as I understand them. Many of these terms are confusing, difficult to pronounce and understand at first, especially the chemical and medical ones! I’m an interested Nail Technician and by no means a scientist or expert. This glossary is something I wished I’d had access to when I was just starting out.
Occasionally I will edit these posts to add or amend information, as and when I learn more or come across new terminology. The beauty of this industry is that it’s constantly evolving as new scientific discoveries and product developments become available.
I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions, additions or edits to this series. It’s definitely a work in progress and has taken over a year to get this far. I’m hoping this will become a useful up to date resource for all professional nail technicians and students.
Chemical: Everything you see and touch except for light and electricity.
Contamination: To make impure, infected, corrupt, etc,. by contact with or addition of something.
Contaminates: Any impurities such as skin oils, dust or fluff.
Contraindication / Contras: this is a condition or factor that serves as a reason to withhold a certain treatment or service due to the harm that it would cause the client, future clients or yourself.
Co-polymer: Polymers made of two or more different types of monomers.
Cross-linked: Polymers that create a chemical bond between two other polymer chains.
Crystallisation: An undesirable, but preventable formation of tiny crystals in the uncured nail coating that can result from unusually cold temperatures or drafts. Liquid monomer will actually freeze and turn into a solid before it polymerises with the powder (polymer).
Cuticle: True cuticle is the layer of translucent or colourless dead skin that is constantly being shed from the underside of the proximal nail fold and often sticks to the surface of the nail.
Dehydration: To remove moisture from a surface, substance or object. Which in the manicure will improve adhesion and help to prevent yeast, bacterial and fungal infections.
De-lamination: The peeling apart of two improperly adhered surfaces. Natural nails can de-laminate due to a lack of natural oil and moisture levels in the nail plate layers. Often this can occur on healthy nails by improper removal of nail coatings. SEE Lifting.
Dermis: The dermis is the bottom layer of skin.
Disinfection: A procedure used to control micro-organisms on non-living surfaces such as: instruments, implements or environmental surfaces.
Distal Edge of Plate: Distal means the farthest edge, or the free edge.
Dorsal Pterygium: Occurs when the proximal nail fold fuses with the underlying matrix and, subsequently, with the nail bed. Resulting in the nail plate dividing into 2 lateral segments that progressively decrease in size as the pterygium widens. If the proximal nail fold completely fuses with the matrix and the nail bed a total loss of the nail plate can occur. Can be caused by trauma and skin conditions.