Gel Nail Polish Might Make Hands Harder to Clean, Study Finds

December 28, 2018 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​All types of nail décor, regardless of product or lack thereof, become more contaminated with bacteria over time, but gel nail polish may be more resistant to alcohol-based hand solutions used in common hand hygiene practices, according to a study published in the December 2018 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control. The study consisted of 88 healthcare workers in three health centers who were painted with gel and standard nail polish on their dominant hand. Cultures were taken on days 1, 7, and 14 of wear both before and after the participants washed their hands with alcohol hand gel. Results indicated the bacterial burden of natural nails and standard polish were reduced after hand hygiene, but not for gel polish (P = .001, P = .0028, and P = .98, respectively).

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