Nail Terminology

A discussion of.....MOLD, FUNGUS, BACTERIAS, PSEUDOMONAS BACTERIA......The beginnings of the nail tech glossary for referance!
Check back here soon for a complete Nails Dictionary!

A technical discussion and definitions of Pseudonomas bacterias, fungus, molds, and relationship to drill useage .......?

Pseudomonas bacteria are a genus (or family) of aerobic (meaning air needing), rod shaped (bacilli), Gram-negative BACTERIA.(The laymen term for bacteria is GERM.) They are a common type of bacteria in our everyday lives and environment. They are "opportunistic", meaning that they can take advantage of the right conditions (such as moist
and warm!) and start multiplying very quickly. One single celled bacteria, given the right conditions, can multiply to a 1/4 million in only 6 hours! (I am quoting from a medical text book here!)

Sometimes GREEN is mold (ie as in moldy bread), and sometimes it is bacterial in nature, and other times it can be BOTH (Although generally, bacteria keep molds and fungus in check by "competing", that is why a yeast infection (also a type of fungus)is a common complication of taking anti-biotics. Anti-biotics very often kill off the "good"
bacteria as they kill the "bad" bacteria.) We as laymen(non-doctors) can never know for sure. Regardless of WHAT it is, "green" is generally treated in the same manner, i.e.; procedures to follow to stop it's multiplicatiuon any further and kill off what is there currently......

Regarding FUNGUS: Even doctors cannot identify fungus or fungal growths for sure without doing a scraping of the nail and growing a culture.

Now to confuse us all though: The FUNGUS I am referring to above is the TYPE that CAUSES separation of the nail itself from the nail bed, and referred to by doctors as Onychomycosis.

Many times a "mechanical lift" (ie a nail that is ripped off of the bed by an outside force, and not a disease process), will result in bacterial infections because this is the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive in. This bacterial infection will make reattachment of the nail difficult untill it is eradicated.

MOLD (technically a type of FUNGII) is the "generic" term
generally (BUT not usually correctly!) used in our industry to desrcibe GREEN GROWTHS, between the natural nail and the artificial nail product on top, and is generally very easy to prevent and eradicate through proper nail maintenance.

MOLD is a many-celled, filamentous, "furry", fungal colony that grows on the surface of organic matter, especially in the presence of dampness or decay,. (Mildew, also a fungus, grows a thin, WHITE, "furry" coating on organic matter.)

Twice in my 10 years, I have sent clients to doctors, because I was almost convinced that they must have "fungal" infections...(nail separating from the nail bed type of fungal infection, on several nails, and there had been no history of a mechanical lift), based on the symptoms and appearance of their nails. In both cases the clients came
back several weeks later, with doctors notes, written on their Rx pads, saying that after doing the culture there was NO fungal infection, and were given permission to resume nail services.

So for anyone to say they have "seen" fungal infections on people who had their nails "drilled on" would require that a culture had been done.

What a tech might see is the result of trauma or unsanitary conditions that may in turn have ALLOWED bacteria to invade. (Opened the door so to speak, and set up the right conditions for any bacteria (ie germ)in the neighborhood to set up housekeeping.)

So while drills and trauma and "disease" may be seen together, one does not necessarily CAUSE the other. But trauma to the nail from an unskilled or inept operator will definetly SET UP the conditions that bacteria and "mold" and fungus just love! (But remember, suspect BACTERIA first!)

And yes, while IMPROPER use of the drill can cause trauma,
improper use of a hand file can cause trauma as well. PROPER use of any of our professional implements will not cause damage or trauma. IMPROPER use of almost any of our professional implements or products WILL cause damage,
which is why we are required to be educated and licensed to buy or use them. (In most states/countries anyway!)

I am concerned here about DRILLS getting a bad rap! DRILLS don't damage nails; unskilled and uneducated operators of the drill cause damage or trauma. The public and nail techs need to be educated about the facts of drill useage.

Just as we still fight the MYTHS that perpetuate that
"wearing acrylics will ruin your nails forever", we must counter all other MYTHS about our industry as well.

Of course their are bad techs out there, just as there are bad doctors and lawyers who can cause us harm by malpractice, ie not performing their duties PROPERLY.

So, to clarify:

BACTERIA; one celled organisms or germs that multiply quickly, and come in an array of fascinating colors. Generally easy to kill when they are on top of the nail, as in-between the natural nail and the artificial nail product on top. BUT, can also be found "under" the natural nail, as in between the nail bed and the nail, where the nail has separated from the bed, and can be difficult to treat.

PSEUDONOMAS BACTERIA: One of many TYPES of bacterias.
Specifically, a genus or family of bacteria classified as aerobic, rod-shaped, and Gram negative (salmonella belongs to this genus). Sometimes can be seen as a green "stain" (and therefore often incorrectly identified as "water mold"), between the natural nail and the artificial nail covering,especially where there has been a crack or lifting of the artificial product, or other way for air and bacteria to invade.

MOLD; belongs to the species of "fungii", so technically it IS a fungus. BUT, fungus lack chlorophyl, (what many of us assume is responsible for the green stain). The term is generally used incorrectly to describe GREEN stains between the natural nail and the artificial nail,laying ON TOP of the natural nail. Regardless of WHAT it is though, it is
generally/usually easy to kill. (Because bacteria are one-celled they are very susceptible to easy remedies such as alcohol and other sanitizers/dehydrants, which quite
literally "suck" all the water out of these one celled living organisms and kill them. Fungii, on the other hand have protective spores covering them, and and some can be very difficult to kill off!)

FUNGUS; a very large classification(over 100,000 species) of
many differant types of many celled organisms (or colonies) that thrive on organic matter, reproduce by means of spores, and are considered a parasite,(molds, mildews, yeasts, mushrooms, even rust, etc). For our useage as nail techs, generally used to denote a type of fungus(Onychomycosis),specifically, that invades between the
nail and the nail bed, causing the nail to detach from the bed. "This condition most often affects people whose hands are frequently immersed in water. It is liable to last for years. Anti-fungal medications benefit some people." Fungus is not green as it lacks chlorophyl. Once the nail has
separated from the bed due to the fungal infection, a secondary bacterial infection can develop as well and even "take over". A fungus can only be identified for sure by growing a culture.

Hope this clears things up!