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Demystifing Nail Allergies

Demystifying Nail Allergies


Understanding Causes, Symptoms, and Responsible Care

There is still a great deal of obvious confusion over nail allergies and what to do about them.

Seeking Advice for Nail Allergies on Social Media

There are countless pictures on SM asking for opinions, even though many state that we are not doctors so we cannot diagnose. Then what?

If clients have been wearing nail coatings that are known to be allergenic and symptoms appear it doesn’t matter if they have had the same nail service for a long period of time with no reaction as it can take years for an immune response to occur. 

The only next step is to seek a medical diagnosis. Many general practitioners lack knowledge about common acrylate reactions, often dismissing them as fungal infections or prescribing antibiotics or steroid creams.

No one should take antibiotics unless necessary as the body can build up an immunity to them and they will not work when their use is urgent. Steroid creams can thin the skin and do not cure an allergic reaction.

Essential Steps for Allergic Reactions and Fungus Identification

The definitive step to remedy an allergic reaction involves complete removal of the allergen, which, in this case, refers to the nail coating.

To determine if a symptom is due to a fungal infection, testing is the essential method.

The only real answer to know what to do with a potential allergy is to have a dermatology patch test and one specifically for acrylates and methacrylates (which not all dermatologists are qualified to do!). If a GP refuses to refer the patient to a dermatologist, then they should be advised that the patient has had a known allergen such as a nail coating. Once this is done and results are received, the very specific ingredient can be avoided.

Testing HEMA-Free Products for Nail Allergies

It can be worth trying one nail with a HEMA-free product but the individual may, by that time, be allergic to many other acrylates or on the verge of becoming allergic. But if a client is insistent it can be done as long as the client agrees to return in one week to have it removed to see the condition of the nail plate and nail bed.

Prior Allergen Testing: A Must Before Nail Coating Application

Until this testing has been carried out no coating should be applied. If it is then the nail professional is liable for causing any further damage and wide open to a liable action.

When a reaction occurs the client must be encouraged to report it to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Bureau and the nail professional should report it to the manufacturer.

Preventing Nail Allergies: Proper Curing and Nail Product Safety

There are many known allergens used in nail products but they are allowed as the product must not touch the skin and must be properly cured. Please see all our information on a proper cure and watch our video on nail Allergies and how they happen, to understand it more.

Navigating HEMA and Monomer Reactions

It is not always HEMA that is the problem but reacting to HEMA can lead to reactions from other monomers.

It is very important that every nail pro understands what to do in these circumstances, anything less is unprofessional and opens their clients to long term problems and damage.

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