Dermatologists issue fresh warning about safe use of gel systems following increase in allergies
The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) has reissued a warning about allergic reactions linked to gel nail enhancements, particularly home-use kits, following consumer media coverage.
Following comments made during a BBC programme, The BAD said in a statement that sensitisation to ingredients such as HEMA can occur “when the uncured products come into contact with any part of the skin”, adding, “This is very likely when people apply a product themselves, or if insufficient training has been given to the nail technician.
“Additionally, if the product isn’t cured sufficiently then this can increase the risk of an individual developing an allergy.”
The BAD first issued a warning in 2018, after a study titled Epidemic of (Meth)acrylate Allergy in the UK Requires Routine Patch Testing found that 2.4% of people tested had an allergy to at least one type of (meth)acrylate chemical.
Commenting on continued, more recent, cases of contact allergies Dr Deirdre Buckley of the British Association of Dermatologists said: “It’s important that people are aware of the potential risks of artificial nail products, whether they are having them applied in a salon or at home. Nail technicians are particularly at risk and should wear nitrile gloves when applying the products, changing them every thirty minutes with a no-touch technique.
“It’s likely that lockdowns during the pandemic contributed to an increase in people using at-home artificial nail kits. If you are using these products at home then make sure you read the instructions and always use the recommended UV lamp for curing. Do not use the same lamp with other polishes purchased separately. It’s very important that you avoid direct skin contact with the nail product whilst it is curing.’
‘’Many people are unaware of potential medical and dental implications if they become sensitised to nail methacrylates. The same or very similar methacrylates are used in white dental fillings, enamel tooth coatings, orthopaedic bone cement, diabetic glucose sensors and insulin pumps. This can have serious consequences for future medical care.’’
Commenting on the news piece, Lesley Blair MBE, chief executive and chair of The British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC) said, “It is concerning to hear the growing cases of allergies to light-curing gel manicure products, especially as at-home manicure kits are still so accessible, which can make it harder for the average person to identify harmful ingredients.
“I’m sure this news will alarm many people, though it is worth noting that there are many brands out there offering safe, low level HEMA or HEMA-free formulas.”
“The best way to minimise risk of allergic reactions to a gel manicure is to ask your nail technician whether they carry low-level HEMA, HEMA-free or hypoallergenic polishes, as well as always ensuring they are experienced and qualified."