White patches on nails?


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Well-Known Member
Jan 7, 2010
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I have been doing shellac manicures on my mother-in-law every two weeks since June. I use all of the correct products and equipment and she uses solar oil religiously every day. She has always had fairly dry nails that peel at the free edge but shellac has been helping with that. Two weeks ago I took the shellac off and she had a few white spots on her nails. So I made a note and told her to use the solar oil twice a day rather than once a day. Today I removed the shellac again and they had alot more white spots and patches, two or three nails had large white areas and one nail was peeling right across the middle of the nail. Why would this suddenly start happening? I know she definitely uses the oil as she wouldn't lie to me. I guess it must be the acetone or the constant wearing of shellac? I am thinking I should suggest that she has a break from shellac for a few weeks? I hope this doesn't start happening with more clients as they have been wearing shellac constantly for 5 months or so.
I started a thread last week with a similar problem, there are lots of replies that might help.

The thread is titled "worried about possible acetone damage on shellac client"
It could be that your MIL's nails are growing down and the old damaged nails is starting to grow off. Her new healthy nail is coming along and showing the old nail as diffrerent. You say that she has peeling nails.

I have worn Shellac since its launch and my nails were already in good condition. I have not noticed anything like you describe.

I always find it confusing that people firstly will jump to blame the products. Why do you think your MIL would not lie to you about her solar oil LOL.
I always find it confusing that people firstly will jump to blame the products.

I don't find it confusing, it's quite logical to think that way. This is a new product and its what has changed in her routine. Suddenly her nails are different, the first place you look for a reason is what you've been doing differently...ie, wearing shellac. Sure the product itself may not be the culprit, but as a starting point it's a fairly good bet.
No white spots on my nails after 9 months of wearing Shellac. I haven't seen it on clients either. I have absolute and complete faith in my abilities and Shellac and the proof is in the clients who are wearing it that are under my control.

I have heard ... that some ... are buffing the nail surface ... before applying Shellac .. with a white block butter! WHY! Is that part of the PEP for Shellac? NO . Do CND ask that the technicians do that?? NO. So why are some doing it?? No faith?? Sad. You get a fantastic product that needs no PREP and then what do you do?? PREP. Oh ye of little!!! Absolutely no need. Doing this can contribute to white spots of dehydrated nail... naturally. On your own head be it.

Look to your own ability and what you do or to your clients.
Thanks Nail Perfection, I did have a read of that thread but it seemed to get a little bit side-tracked with the whole oil discussion and there weren't really any answers/reasons why it could be happening.

I agree Curiosity that when there is a problem you look at what has changed or what is new to work out what may be causing a problem. Why is it that we can't ask any questions about shellac on this forum anymore??? I think it is a great product but not every product suits everyone and with it being such a new product we are bound to come across issues with different clients and different situations. I too have had shellac on my nails since May with odd days of in between and have had no problems with my nails but my natural nails are really healthy, very strong and have never been affected by anything I have put on them. I have just been reading all the comments on the CND website under the question about white spots on nails and many people seem to be experiencing this same problem. I am now thinking that I will have to recommend breaks from the product for any clients that I see this happening to.
Natural Nails I trust my mother-in-law implicitly and know that she would not lie to me about applying solar oil!

As I said Geeg I too have worn shellac since May without any problems but we are all different and all of our nails are different. Surely not every product suits everyone even when applied correctly? I have recently had a 1:1 with my Education Ambassador and after watching me she said that I was applying and removing Shellac correctly.

Can I just say again that I am not trying to blame Shellac or say that it isn't a good product but I am saying that I have a client with a problem who has been wearing Shellac for a number of months and was looking for some advice!

Oh and I would not dream of buffing a clients nails before applying Shellac. I have no idea why I would be accused of this!!
For anyone else experiencing similar problems here is the question and answer direct from the CND website which is much more helpful and productive than some of the reponses on this thread:

Q: Why am I seeing white spots on the nails after removal of Shellac?

A: White spots on the nail after removal of Shellac is typically due to slight dehydration of the nails.
Tips & Tricks:
  • Clients should be using Solar Oil daily and repeatedly. This will help moisturize their natural nails and keep their natural flexibility. It will also help maintain the natural flexible feeling of Shellac.
  • Minimize exposure of acetone by using Shellac Wraps. Soaking the nails and fingertips in a bowl of acetone is excessive exposure to acetone.
  • Apply Shellac base coat thin. The thicker you use it the longer it will take to remove.
  • If your clients natural nails are overly dry, try a warm Solar Oil soak. Use an oil warmer or place small bowl of Solar Oil in a larger bowl of warm water.Put just enough Solar oil to cover the tips of the fingers. Soak for 5 min after application of Shellac
  • When dry spots are found on natural nail after Shellac removal, apply SolarOil and buff with 1200 grit buffer such as CND Koala Buffer. In mild cases, Shellac can then be reapplied. In more severe cases, the client should take a break from wearing Shellac for a few weeks.
  • To remove any residual Shellac use an orangewood stick to gently scrape the nail. Do not use metal or hard plastic. Improper scraping may cause damage to the top layer of natural nail, thus making the nails more prone to dehydration.
  • Immediately after Shellac removal, wash the client’s hand with plenty of water using mild soap. Strong soap or detergents are also sources of dehydration.
  • Do not buff the natural nail prior to application. The top layer of the natural nail is normally more dense or less porous than the other layers and acts as a protecting layer, preventing solvents from penetrating the natural nail and causing excess dehydration.
I apologise if what I said was seen as unkind. I didnt mean it the way some of you have taken it.

This is yet again another casualty of the written word. If I had spoken what I said then it may have come across differently.

I dont know what your MIL had on her nails before. In my experience with some natural nail clients, once they start to take care of their nails, they see issues which were not there before. This is down to the fact that new healthy nail is coming along nicely and the old dried out, peeling nail then looks worse in comparison. Some will then say oh it must be the Solar Oil, or whatever, that is causing this problem.

Does that make any more sense. I wasnt having a go at anyone.

I know lots of clients who tell me that they religiously use their oil every day, they arent really lying but just not being 100% accurate. I dont use my oil every day, because sometimes I forget, I may be off for the weekend and forget to take it. But hey if I was asked, I would say yes, I use it every day LOL.

I think now I have dug an even bigger hole for myself, so I will go now and stop digging LOl.

Thank you for copying the info from the CND website, that is really helpful.
Thanks Dinky, that's really helpful. I have gel on my natural nails because my natural nails also peel on the free edge no matter how much I oil them. I've been wondering if I should switch to shellac instead as I don't need length enhancement but that post has answered that question for me. My nails probably could not take the fornightly soak off that Shellac requires and I am better off with a gel that can be infilled instead.
From all the posts, questions and information on the CND it appears obvious that there are some clients develop white spots for a variety of reasons.

I don't see this as a major problem but yet another good reason for true knowledge and understanding of both the subject (nails) and the product. If you understand why things may be happening you are part way there in putting it right.

No one product is going to suit EVERY person and some clients may need slight adjustments in application and care (e.g. CND recommend buffing any delamination before application and warm oil soak after). Not everyone can wear traditional polish for a variety of reasons.

It is up to us, as technicians, to solve these problems and the info from CND looks a pretty good start to me. If the client is not prepared to let you find the solution or follow your homecare advice the you will need to find an alternative!
Hi dinky! Fellow Bristolian!

I currently use shellac also and have one client that seems to have white spots every time but I wondered if it was a pitting effect on her nails or dips? and with that the acetone showing up every imperfection on nail plate as I also have a client that has very noticable ridges that show up also and is very difficult to remove marks and very annoying if using say negligee shows through.
Above info was helpful tho will def be trying solar oil warm soak in future tho!

Tasha xx
No worries Natural Nails, I didn't take any offence. I just wish people cold be abit more open to conversation and discussion on this site sometimes.

Don't let this thread put you off shellac Curiosity. I have a number of clients that have peeling nails that have not had any issues with shellac and it has helped the condition. My mother-in-law is 60 and I am think this could have something to do with the problem.

Thanks for your post Mum, I agree with your comments x

Hey Tashastalons, nice to hear from another tech in Brizzle! Glad the information was of use to you. I am going to be giving my regular clients a free warm oil treatment for christmas but I'm going to use the heated mitts instead of a bowl as it's more cost effective.

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