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Dermatologists’ Concerns Over Light-cured Gel Nails

27 September 2017

UK dermatologists are seeing rising rates of sensitisation to build-up artificial ‘gel’ nails that require a light source (either UV or LED) as part of the application process.

‘Acrylic’ nails and ‘gel’ nails are where the artificial nail is ‘built up’ on the natural nail.  In ‘gel’ nails, the acrylate monomers are ‘cured’ to the hard polymer by the light.  

A key aspect to light-cured nails is the use of the correct light source with the specific nail product.  If the incorrect light source is used, or if the time allowed for curing is not sufficient, higher levels of the monomer remain on the nail. It is the monomer that has the potential to cause a reaction. Avoiding excessive skin exposure, i.e. to the skin around the nail itself, is also important.

Dermatologists used to see nail professionals presenting at their clinics as an occupational issue, but they are now seeing an increase in sensitisation among the general population, with a growing proportion of patients using home nail kits.

While any resulting contact dermatitis is in itself an unpleasant condition for the consumer to develop, there are other possible implications.   The ingredients in build-up nails have a wide range of applications, including in certain medical and dental procedures.  If an individual develops an allergy to their nail applications, this can have implications for any future dental and medical procedures.

CTPA shares the concerns of the dermatologists and has updated its section on Artificial Nails to highlight the importance of following the use instructions carefully, and that nail systems should only be used with the corresponding LED or UV lamp which is specified by the manufacturer.

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