News: What Lives Under Your Fingernails? —BBC

[Image:, Getty Images]

This very recent BBC report asks, just how dirty are the areas underneath your fingernails?

Here are some of the conclusions it arrives at:

  • Hands are home to hundreds to thousands of bacteria, but the area underneath the fingernails (subungual areas) yielded hundreds of thousands of bacteria per fingertip.
  • “Persistent scrubbing doesn’t sterilise the hand” and the subungual areas “may be relatively inaccessible to antimicrobial agents during normal hand-washing procedures”.
  • Artificial nails can harbor more germs than natural ones, possibly because those who wear false nails tend to keep longer nails, and they may not be as thorough at washing their hands.
  • Nail polish on short, natural nails did not seem to affect the number of bacteria per fingertip, until the polish was over four days old (presumably cracks and chips in the polish allowed harboring of more bacteria).

The researchers concluded that “[k]eeping nails short and clean, therefore, is probably more important than whether or not nail polish is worn”. Good to keep in mind while washing your hands and—gulp—biting your nails!

8 thoughts on “News: What Lives Under Your Fingernails? —BBC

  1. Ewwww! But a great reminder for people to STOP putting their fingers in their mouths. And stop touching your face during the day! Hand washing regularly is so important. Also, clean your laptop keyboard and phone screens regularly! Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really can’t stand it when I have anything under my fingernails! So gross. Have to get it out ASAP. I don’t even touch my face, etc. I do need reminders to wash my keyboard (my bro had to do an intervention a while back, LOL! – in my defense I’m the only one who uses my keyboard) and it’s about time I did it again.


  2. I’m not surprised. I think it’s important to use soap and a nail brush to clean under the nails – especially when you have long nails. And when it comes to hand sanitiser too many women with long nails try not to get the sanitiser anywhere near their nails – which defeats the purpose. I have longer nails and I make an effort to keep them clean. If only more women with longer nails would do the same.

    In regards to the findings about false nails… again, I’m not surprised. Many women (not all of them) who constantly wear false nails have poor nails to begin with. And the majority of women with false nails aren’t those who go to a salon, but those who buy false nails from the supermarket and glue them back on time and time again whenever they fall off. Needless to say that gunk gathers under their nails and between the natural and the false nails…

    Liked by 1 person

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