Experts have warned long nails, nail polish and nail extensions could all be harbouring dangerous germs and even help transfer coronavirus.
British beauty aesthetics expert at Bijoux Medispa in Belgravia, Dr Elisabeth Dancey, told FEMAIL for the Daily Mail that fungi and bacteria are easily harboured under nails.
This bacteria is then transferred when touching objects, your face, and other people.
Dancey said: "Long nails, nail varnish and nail extensions have always been a no-no for anybody who needs spotlessly clean hands; nurses, doctors, therapists, cooks, mothers and carers.
"Germs' such as bacteria, fungi and viruses [including the coronavirus] can harbour underneath the nail space and easily be transmitted to whatever you touch. Put simply, you cannot see the dirt that lies beneath.
"Doctors know this and rigorously scrub under their nails before donning gloves and performing surgery; with a sterile nail brush and sanitising solution. We should now follow their example."
Dr Chike Emeagi, medical director of Hampstead Aesthetics Clinic and Dr Chike Clinics, told the Daily Mail that the ideal length for nails was just above the nail tissue, noting: "It is advisable to cut your nails as short as possible as they harbour infection."
The warning comes after an Aussie nurses advice went viral for her revelation that long nails are one of the fastest spreaders of coronavirus.
Posting to Facebook, a woman said she was told by an Australian nurse that while handwashing is important, people needed to be more focused on the importance of having short nails.
"Among all the hand-washing instructions and the fun 20-second song suggestions, I haven't seen anyone note that it is impossible to wash your hands properly if your fingernails are long," the woman wrote.
"If you can't put your fingernails straight down against your other palm without your nails adding too much distance to do it, you cannot wash under your fingernails properly unless you use a nail brush every time," she said.
The woman noted that if you can't rub the very ends of your fingers against the other palm when cleaning them, then your hands aren't clean enough - no matter how much soap you use.
She concluded: "Please, during this global emergency, keep your nails short."
Visit covid19.govt.nz for more information about Covid-19.
This article was first published on NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.