It might seem a bit surprising but yes, many people are allergic to gel nail polish. Hence, they avoid this part while appointing for their summer manicures. Well, gel nail polish can show allergic reactions since they contain acrylates (meth). You may wonder asking how to treat an allergic reaction to gel nail polish.
Well, this can be treated by adopting some carefulness. Also, you may have to take some medicines or drugs to cure the allergies. However, in severe cases, you might have to visit a dermatologist.
Nonetheless, to have elaborated knowledge and important information regarding this topic, bear with us till the end.
What Happens if You Are Allergic to Gel Polish?
Even though it is a very rare case yet you can be allergic to gel polish or acrylic nails. It is shown in a study that around 2.4% of people are affected by this problem.
They can cause itchy rashes on any part of your body since most compounds contain methacrylate compounds in them and the irritation is known as contact dermatitis.
Moreover, there are some other potential allergens contained in the gel compounds. These allergen compounds are tosylamide formaldehyde, nitrocellulose, dibutyl phthalate, or even camphor.
Also, they can contain some solvents like dyes, acetone, and others. These are also some potential allergens. It does not only affect the fingertips. Rather the irritation can occur in any sensitive place of our body since we tend to touch our eyes or face many times a day.
So, where we have sensitive and thin skin, we feel a burning sensation. However, the symptoms can show up within 48 hours of the application of gel nails. At times, these symptoms can get severe and, in the end, might admit you to a hospital.
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Why I Am Allergic to Gel Nails All of a Sudden?
You might wonder of the fact that why you are allergic to gel nails all of a sudden when you have already done it multiple times but never really hit this way.
Well, not necessarily, the symptoms will show the moment you apply the gel nail polish. In fact, in some cases, the symptoms pop up months after the application. Also, several studies show that due to some hormonal changes, your body can react to some allergens that did not affect you before.
Moreover, there are probably reasons that your manicure routine did not contain acrylate in it before. But now since it does, you can sense that you are allergic to that particular component. Or, maybe you are just building up an intolerance to the allergen.
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What Are the Causes of Allergic Reaction to Gel Nail Polish?
We have already mentioned the probable reasons for allergic reactions to gel nail polish. Obviously, the ingredients are responsible. According to a study of 13 dermatology units in the United Kingdom, around 2.4% of people have positively responded to methacrylate allergy.
Among them, around 2/3rd people showed the reason for it is the exposure to gel or acrylic nail glue. However, the study has also shown that nail technicians are also responsible for fifty percent development of the allergy. However, some main causes are given below.
- Improper curing of UV gels can cause this problem since they are sticky. If not cured properly, the gel goes under the natural bed and causes itching.
- Also, the UV lamp can be a reason for this. If the bulbs of UV lamps are not changed frequently, it affects the curing quality and induces an allergic reaction.
- Incorrect mixing of enhancement products while applying nail polish can also cause an allergic reaction. The mixing may require a monomer and polymer or a liquid and a powder. Hence, if the mixing is not done maintaining the proper ratio, the pest can touch the skin and cause allergy.
- Again, gel nail polish can create intense allergic reactions if you over-file the nails. Over-filing makes the nails weak and allergic development can easily take place.
- Moreover, inefficient nail technicians, uncleaned workstations, unsterilized manicure equipment, and odors are also some reasons that cause an allergic reaction to gel nail polish.
What Does a Gel Nail Allergy Look Like?
A gel nail allergy appears as a reddish itchy mark on the skin. Sometimes, the area with rashes becomes raised by swelling. The raised area also creates red patches and they are known as hives.
Moreover, the swelling can be intense at times. Again, severe itching can make you significant discomfort. The reddish patches might also leave scars on the skin. Later, the scars become black, and the allergy cause skin degradation.
Moreover, over time the gel nail allergy makes the skin excoriated, scaly, lichenified, and unsightly.
What Are the Gel Nail Polish Allergy Symptoms?
The symptoms take place from the fingertips since it is where the allergens get in contact first. Then it develops to several parts of the body.
Again, while performing the manicure, many do not put a margin around the nail. Thus, during gel nail polish application the substance gets in touch with the skin and cause irritation.
However, they can cause severe issues like,
- The gel can cause itches on the fingertips.
- Loosening of nails.
- Eyes start to bother and become swollen and red over time.
- Redness and irresistible irritation on eyelids and neck sides.
- Rood of the mouth or nose itching.
- Breathing problems.
- Bumpy and swollen lips.
- Lifelong consequences.
These are some initial symptoms of having allergies due to gel polish. However, the symptoms might again have different consequences. Severe irritation can also cause a runny nose and watery eyes.
Moreover, stomach cramps can also occur. As a result, vomiting is also a symptom when the allergy gets severe. Again, if you do not treat the allergic reaction from your gel nail polish then the secondary infection will certainly take place.
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What Are the Ingredients in Gel Nail Polish?
Gel nail or nail enamels are made of several components and each of them can carry potential chemical allergens. Almost all nail gels are made of the same ingredients. They contain a film former that can contain a potential allergen called nitrocellulose.
Again, there are resins, solvents, and plasticizers as well that also have chemical allergens. They contain alcohol, toluene, alkyd resin, polyesters, vinyl, tricresyl phosphate, and other many chemicals.
Moreover, the gel compound also contains colorants and Pearlisers that contain bismuth oxychloride with guanine. These elements are also considered allergens. However, the reactions of allergies can range from mild or chronic to severe.
How to Treat an Allergic Reaction to Gel Nail Polish?
The treatment should be prompt to the allergic reaction to gel nail polish. The possible treatments are given below.
- Evade Skin Contact
When you feel an allergic reaction at first try not to touch any other part of your skin. Skin-to-skin contact might shift the allergens to that particular area and cause an allergic reaction too.
Avoiding skin contact will limit the potential exposure to possible irritants. Moreover, the allergic reaction may also show in the nail technicians since they also come in contact with the nail gel. They can be allergic to latex.
Hence, using nitrile gloves for both technicians and clients is recommended. Do not use the same gloves for more than one client. It will induce cross-contamination of the allergic reactions.
- Cleaning of Things
This is a very important thing to do for the treatment of allergic reactions. The nail care tech should be responsible for all the cleaning. You have to ensure the working area is cleaned and the brushes that are used in the process are clean and free of gels.
Otherwise, aggravation of allergies will take place. Moreover, disinfect all the manicure equipment with several salon disinfectant products like protective hand serum or micro-exfoliating hand polish.
- Checking of Equipment
Manicuring requires different equipment to perform. Thus, to treat the allergic reaction it is important that you properly check the equipment as well. Generally, a UV lamp is used to cure the gel nail polish properly.
Improper UV lamp does not cure the gel properly on nails. Hence, the allergic reaction becomes intense. Moreover, if the bulbs of the UV lamp are old and you actually never have changed them, then they will also interrupt curing.
Hence, get the right UV lamp so that the curing of gel nail polish is easy and faster.
- Avoid Dust
Dust is common while performing the task. It can come from the air or while filing the nail. Electric nail file produces dust that is a potential enhancer of allergic reactions. Hence, along with a clean desk, it is also important to clean off the dust as well.
Moreover, the towel that the technician is supposed to clean also needs to dispose of it. Thus, it is suggested to use a disposable towel.
- Get Right Skincare Products
It is also a great treatment against allergic reaction. Proper skincare products can protect the skin against gel nail polish exposure.
These skincare products also create a protective layer over the skin. Hence, the skin is not affected by the gel.
- Correct Removal of Gel Inhibition Layer
Removing the gel polish inhibition layer from the nail is very important. Leaving the layer can cause overexposure while the polish is still uncured and sticky.
Maintaining proper steps, you can do it. First, make sure to start with the smallest finger. Use a high-quality nail wipe and wipe the nail of the finger gently.
Make sure to go around the free edges of the nail so that proper wiping is ensured. Keep wiping the same way on the remaining fingers as well. You can use clean cotton pads as well.
- Get Drugs
Finally, when the case is severe and the allergic reaction to gel nail polish is not stopping then use the medicine. Antihistamine drugs can fix the problem and they are also easily available at the pharmacy.
However, it is always suggested to get suggestions from a dermatologist first and follow his/her prescription.
How Do You Stop Your Fingers from Itching after Gel Nails?
The immediate thing you can do if you feel itches after having gel nails is to remove the polish at once. After removing properly, apply a cortisone cream on the skin for better treatment. However, if the itching is severe take the help of a dermatologist.
Can You Use Gel Polish after an Allergic Reaction?
Well, you can try using hybrid varnishes to avoid such allergic reaction that has happened before. It can occur due to sensitive nails. Even though now your nails are healthy, you should at least get another gel polish base coat with different components.
A gel polish base coat containing Vitamin E and panthenol works better on sensitive nails. Again, using nail conditioners also protect your nails.
What Types of Nail Polishes Prevent Allergic Reaction?
Some nail varnishes can prevent allergic reactions. Gel nail polishes or enamels contain nickel allergens as well. Nail varnishes work as a barrier to such allergens and prevent allergic reactions. Hence, it also stops the sensation that occurs after applying the gel.
Tips to Avoid Allergic Reactions to Gel Nail Polish in Future
Here are some tips to follow to avoid any kind of allergic reactions to gel nail polish.
- Always keep the workstation and the salon equipment clean and sterilized after finishing the task.
- Get a patch test before having the gel on your nails.
- Never use the same equipment on another client before disinfecting them.
- Nail technicians must wear gloves before performing the manicure on their clients.
- Ensure disposal of the nitrile gloves after the task is done.
- To stop the gel to come in contact with the skin while performing the task, make sure to make a margin using liquid tape around the nails.
- Make sure the technician is using the right UV lamp for curing the nail gel.
- Check the compounds of the product before applying them.
- Get a table for the task that also has a built-in extractor fan so that it can capture the dust in the working area.
- Apply thin coats of nail gel so that curing becomes easy and fast under a UV lamp.
- Always ensure the right amount of ratio while mixing the enhancement products.
- Make sure to do the job cleanly so that the gel does not touch the skin.
Tips to Treat an Allergic Reaction to Gel Nail Polish:
Well, now that you know how to treat an allergic reaction to gel nail polish, you can take up an immediate treatment before it goes severe.
However, skin experts are constantly warning about the chemicals found in gel nail polishes or acrylic nails. Hence, before you get your nails done, do some research!