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Dermatologists stress importance of safe use of gel systems to avoid allergies

Reports of allergic reactions linked to gel nail enhancements, particularly home-use kits, have re-surfaced in overseas consumer media, prompting BAD (British Association of Dermatologists) to re-issue a warning about safe practice.

Following comments made during a BBC programme, 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.”

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 BAD 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.’’ Source: