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My life as a nail tech with Raynaud’s Syndrome

By Scratch Staff | 03 February 2024 | Feature, Health & wellbeing, Tech Talk

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Raynaud’s Syndrome causes an interruption of blood flow to all extremities including the hands, fingers and toes, when a spasm occurs in the blood vessels of these areas.

Essex-based nail tech, Em Lee of Rebel Nails, and Newport nail pro, Kathryn Collins, share their experiences with Raynaud’s, how it affects their work and their advice for other sufferers…

Em Lee

screenshot 20220123 125054 instagramWhen did you find out that you had Raynaud’s?

I was diagnosed in 2021. I had experienced the symptoms a few times before then, but I was unsure as to what this was. It was only when I spoke with another nail tech friend that she explained that it was probably Raynaud’s, as she also has it.

What are your symptoms of Raynaud’s?

My index and middle fingers on my working hand start to tingle, like a pins and needles sensation, then they go cold and numb. Their colour changes to a pale yellow, almost white, from my fingertip down to the second joint in both fingers. The fingers become painful and hurt to bend.

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How does this affect your work?

With the condition impacting my working hand, it can lead to a delay in me starting work, as I need to wait for the colour to return and the feeling to be restored in my fingers. I tend to experience symptoms more when I step outside into the cold, but there have been occasions where I’ve been anxious about a design I’ve been asked to do and have had a flare-up.

What advice would you give to other nail techs with Raynaud’s?

If the weather’s cold, keep your hands and fingers warm by wrapping them around a hot drink, wearing gloves or rubbing your hands together and wiggling the fingers to keep the blood flowing.

I always preheat my studio, too, so I know I am not going straight into a cold environment. If you experience a flare-up, don’t panic as it will pass, and try to move your fingers to get the blood flow back. If the condition becomes unmanageable, I’d advise visiting a GP.

Follow Em on Instagram and Facebook.

Kathryn Collins

Kathryn CollinsWhen did you find out that you had Raynaud’s?

I first realised that I had Raynaud’s about 12 years ago. I knew something was wrong with my fingers, but didn’t learn the name of the condition until a couple of years later. I didn’t know of anyone else that had it, but over the years, I think it’s become more well-known.

What are your symptoms of Raynaud’s?

I get extremely cold hands and lose the blood in my fingers and toes, which causes them to turn white. It does affect my work as the longer the flare-up is, the more painful it gets. I then struggle to grip things as I can lose the feeling in my fingers, so filing and/or using an E-file can be difficult. Sometimes when the blood flow returns, it feels like intense pins and needles.

I get flare-ups multiple times a day in the winter, and this can range from affecting just my fingertips to the majority of my hands, depending on how long I feel cold for. The summer is easier, as flare-ups only happen two to three times per week.

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Are your clients understanding?

My clients are very understanding. They don’t mind waiting at all if I have to excuse myself to run my hands under warm water for a few minutes.

What advice would you give to other nail techs with Raynaud’s?

I’ve been prescribed low dosage blood pressure tablets to take when it gets too much. These help with vasodilation, which is the widening of the blood vessels in my fingers and toes. I’m a very active person, which also helps. I don’t smoke and my doctors have recommended avoiding caffeinated drinks.

My advice would be to keep your core warm. Wear gloves when outside and keep warm while working and in-between clients. I wear a lot of layers to work and usually have extra socks on and a base layer under my tunic.

Follow Kathryn on Instagram and Facebook.

Main image courtesy of @kathryncollins_naillash_artist

Click here to visit the NHS website and learn more about Raynaud’s Syndrome.