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Home Gel Nail problems and how to address them

Home Gel Nails: Problems and How to Address Them

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DIY Gel nails kits from high street stores and the internet are very popular. But there are problems associated with them. Let us discover the real story. The kits have become so popular for DIY, especially since the pandemic. They are marketed with such suggestions as: why pay salon prices when you can do them yourself at a fraction of the price.

Exploring Why DIY Nail Care is So Attractive

So, you know those DIY nail kits? They’re all the rage right now, and it’s not hard to see why. Many of us are already used to painting our nails with regular polish, so how much tougher can it be to do gel nails at home, right? Plus, it’s a wallet-friendly option compared to salon prices.

The thing about gel nails is that they’re super convenient. They dry quickly, and if you’re lucky (fingers crossed!), they can last way longer than regular polish.

The Hidden Dangers of Using DIY Gel Nails at Home

Allergies and Sensitivities

One of the biggest problems with DIY gel nails is one that the British Association of Dermatologists  identified in 2018 when they pushed a report that dermatologists are getting a huge influx of patients with allergic contact dermatitis. So much so they said it was an ‘allergy epidemic’ It will be even worse now as the numbers of kits being sold shot up during the pandemic    

The Complex Chemistry Behind UV Gel Polishes and Potential Risks

The chemical formula of UV gel polishes differs enormously from traditional polishes. They dry (the correct term is cure) when exposed to UV light. The ingredients that make this happen are all known allergens (chemicals that are likely to cause an allergic reaction) and there are a lot of them.

Tac product has a specific formulation, and the UV lamp must be calibrated to match the formulas. This is expensive and would make the kits too expensive for the consumer. So small lamps are in the kits that are unlikely to be matched to the polish.

Almost all nail products should not touch the skin and not all consumers can paint both hands perfectly with no skin contact. An unmatched lamp will not completely cure the coating but the coating feels hard to the touch at 50% cure. This means that some liquid product is left inside the coating but it feels dry and hard.

This liquid part can leach out onto the skin every time hands are washed therefore exposing the skin to known allergens.

Common symptoms are dry, red and itchy skin around the nails, hands or anywhere on the body that the hands touch. It can also cause respiratory problems. Nails can lift off the nail bed leaving a pocket under the skin of the nail bed that can overbore so it can be seen behind the nail.

Common Allergens in Nail Products

There are many allergens used in gel polish. The most common two have now been designated ‘for professional use only’ by the Cosmetic Regulations Act, meaning they should not be sold to consumers but only to those who have undertaken professional education. But they are still readily available today.

Allergies to Nail Product Ingredients: Diagnosis and Implications

There have been numerous instances of allergies but the only way to be sure it is an allergy is to have a dermatological patch test. However, on the NHS, there can be a very long wait and private consultations can be too expensive for many.

Another major problem is that the ingredients are also used in dentistry, orthopaedic procedures and eye surgery. This means that an individual who has an allergy to these ingredients would need to let their dentist, orthopaedic consultant and opthalmologist know as alternative will be necessary.

A person was denied cataract surgery due to her allergy, which had disastrous consequences for her. 

The risks of Bacterial and Fungal Infections

If the nail plate is damaged or lifted up from the nail bed it is open to many different bacterial, fungal or any other type of infection. Most kits require the buffing of the nail plate before application. This needs to be done with extreme care as it is very easy to overbid the nails and make them too thin.

The gel polish will not stick to a damaged nail plate and will easily lift off either trapping water underneath that can lead to a bacterial infection or will come off completely pulling some of the nail surface with it again. causing damage that will take months to grow out.

The Importance of Proper Sterilisation

The tools used prior to application must be very clean as it is so easy to cause infections. People who have used such kits for a long time with no adverse effects may believe they are safe. However, such is the characteristic of these products it is a case of when an allergy starts and not if. An allergy can start immediately but it can take years before the bodies immune system recognises it as an unwanted invader and fights it with the symptoms as described.

DIY Gel Nail Kit Safety

The Significance of Thoroughly Reviewing Product Labels in Nail Care

When it comes to nail care, meticulous attention to detail is vital. This includes not only reading the manufacturer’s instructions but also understanding the proper technique for removing the nail coating. It’s advisable to perform this removal process every 2 to 3 weeks, allowing you to inspect the underlying nail for any signs of damage.

If you notice any discoloration, it’s crucial to refrain from reapplying any product until the discolored area has grown out completely. Additionally, maintaining well-nourished nails with ample nail oil is a practice that should be followed consistently.

Providing Insight on the Importance of Patch Tests

When it comes to certain products like hair color or eyelash glue, conducting a patch test is a common practice to ensure they don’t cause adverse skin reactions. However, it’s important to note that for some products, such as those used in nail care, conducting a patch test isn’t feasible because these products are not intended to come into direct contact with the skin.  

Proper Techniques and Hygiene

The Correct Way to File and Shape Nails

There are many things you can do to maintain the health of your nails.

When filing the shape or length, use the softest file you can find. Never use harsh and rough files as this causes peeling and splitting

Maintaining Hygiene: The Crucial Role of Clean Tools and Workspaces

In the realm of nail care and grooming, the significance of cleanliness cannot be overstated. It is imperative that all tools employed in the process are kept impeccably clean, and the practice of sharing such tools should be strictly avoided. This stringent adherence to hygiene standards not only ensures the safety and well-being of individuals but also contributes to the overall quality and effectiveness of nail care procedures.

Best Practices for Cuticle Care

Never cut the cuticles as this is living skin and will just grow back thicker. Use a cuticle remover or a nail oil and massage the skin back as often as you can. You can use an orangewood stick to very gently push the skin back but do not cut it. It will naturally shrink without cutting.

Knowing When to Seek Expert Assistance for Nail and Skin Issues

In case you encounter any concerns related to your nails, it’s advisable to seek the expertise of a qualified professional. When doing so, it’s perfectly reasonable to request to see their certificates and insurance credentials; a genuine professional will readily provide this information.

For issues specifically related to toenails, it’s best to consult a podiatrist, as they can also assist with certain fingernail problems. However, when dealing with skin-related problems, it’s recommended to initiate the process by scheduling an appointment with your general practitioner (GP). Your GP can then assess your condition and, if necessary, refer you to a dermatologist for further specialised care.  

Conclusion:

The allure of DIY gel nail kits may be tempting, especially with the promise of cost savings and convenience. However, the risks associated with these products cannot be overstated. The ingredients involved, along with the complexity of UV gel polishes, pose significant dangers, from allergic reactions to infections. Allergies, once triggered, can become lifelong concerns, impacting not only your nail care routine but also other medical treatments you may require.

The critical takeaway is that professional knowledge and guidance are indispensable when dealing with gel nails, particularly in diagnosing and addressing allergic reactions. Seeking help from qualified experts, such as podiatrists and dermatologists, is essential in managing and mitigating the risks involved in DIY nail care. Moreover, understanding the significance of proper sterilisation, the importance of patch tests where feasible, and consistently adhering to best practices can help safeguard your nail health.

Ultimately, while DIY gel nail kits may seem like an attractive option, they come with serious implications that warrant careful consideration and responsible use. Prioritising your health and well-being should always be at the forefront of your nail care journey.

FAQs related to the topic of the dangers of doing your own nails

  1. What are the common allergens found in nail products that can lead to nail allergies or sensitivities?

There are many but the most common one is HEMA (Hydroxyethyl methacrylate) which should be ‘for professional use only’.

2. How can I tell if I’m having an allergic reaction to a nail product, and what should I do if it happens?

Itching and red skin, nails lifting from the nail bed, little dry splinters under the nail. See a GP or dermatologist

3. Are there specific risks associated with using nail glue or adhesives at home?

Nail glues are also allergens and should not touch the skin. There is also a danger of spilling on clothing. This can cause a very hot reaction that can burn the skin through the clothing, So take extra care when using.

4. What precautions should I take to prevent infections when doing my own nails?

Keep all tools and equipment very clean and don’t share them with other people.

5. How do I properly clean and sanitise my nail tools and equipment to avoid bacterial or fungal infections?

Wash tools thoroughly and soak in a Milton or very weak bleach solution.

6. What are the potential long-term consequences of consistently using DIY nail products incorrectly?

An allergy lasts forever so there could be implications for future dental, orthopaedic and eye surgeries

7. Is it safe to use nail drills or electric files at home, and how can I avoid damaging my nails with them?

Using electric files at home is not recommended as damage can occur in seconds. Professionals need to be trained in how to use them safely.

8. What are some signs that I should stop doing my own nails and seek help from a professional?

There are several indicators that may suggest it’s time to seek professional assistance for your nail care:

  • Allergic Reactions: If you experience any signs of an allergic reaction, such as itching, redness, swelling, or rash around your nails or on your skin after using nail products, it’s crucial to stop immediately and consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional.
  • Persistent Nail Issues: When you encounter persistent nail problems, like recurring fungal or bacterial infections, frequent nail lifting or breakage, or unusual changes in nail color or texture, it’s advisable to consult a qualified nail technician or podiatrist for a thorough assessment.
  • Difficulties with Application: If you find it challenging to properly apply nail products, leading to damaged or unhealthy nails, or if you consistently experience difficulty in maintaining nail hygiene and cleanliness, seeking professional guidance is a wise decision.
  • Pain or Discomfort: Experiencing pain, discomfort, or sensitivity during or after your DIY nail care routine can be a sign of an underlying issue. Consulting a professional can help address the root cause and ensure your nail health.

9. What should I look for in nail product labels to ensure their safety and quality?

When examining nail product labels to ensure safety and quality, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Ingredients List: Look for a comprehensive list of ingredients used in the product. Be cautious of products that don’t disclose their ingredients fully. Pay attention to known allergens or harmful chemicals, and be aware of any specific ingredients that you might be sensitive to.
  • Usage Instructions: Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s usage instructions provided on the label. Ensure that you understand the recommended application and removal process to minimise the risk of damage or adverse reactions.
  • Professional Use Designation: Check if the product is labeled as “for professional use only.” Some ingredients may require professional training to handle safely. If you’re not a trained nail technician, it’s advisable to avoid such products.
  • Allergy Warnings: Look for any allergy warnings or cautions on the label. This is especially important if you have a history of allergies or skin sensitivities. If you notice allergy-related warnings, consider performing a patch test when applicable.
  • Expiration Date: Ensure the product has a clearly marked expiration date. Using expired nail products can lead to suboptimal results and may pose health risks.

By scrutinising these aspects of nail product labels, you can make more informed decisions about the products you use and better safeguard your nail health.



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