An allergy in the nail industry is caused by repetitive skin contact of a nail ingredient that has been advised against skin contact. The contact of this allergen may not always be known or as simple as displaying on the hands from accidentally flooding the cuticle.

If you or a client is experiencing any signs of irritation or allergy, you need to get to the bottom of the cause and skin contact. Firstly, what you need to consider is:

  • Where are you or your client experiencing the symptoms? Is this the hands, face, chest, arms? Anywhere else?

Once you know where the irritation or allergy is presenting, then you know you need to identify how there is contact with this area. If this is your face, then it is likely that you are touching your face unknowingly. Did you know on average a person touches their face 23 times an hour without realising? You then know the transfer is coming from your hands and possible contamination of product transferring to your face. This could be even the smallest amount of product on your hands, gloves, from polish bottle lids etc. Consider ta visor or mask to help break the habit of touching your face and protecting the area in question.

Even if you are wearing gloves, and you have uncured gel on your gloves, think of where this could transfer to: polish bottles, light switches, lamp, tools etc. By transferring this product, you are leaving contact points that are likely to be repetitively touched and transfer uncured product to the skin.

  • Does the issue occur with dust?

Some things to consider are:

  • Do you have dust extraction?
  • Can you be 100% sure your gel is completely cured?
  • Make sure to check things such as the brand of your lamp – is it matching your gels, bulbs?
  • Do you wear a mask and if so, what mask? Does it protect against dust particles of nail ingredients?

Not all masks will protect against what you’d like so do your research to ensure your mask and any PPE will actually protect you.

If your product was not fully cured, when you file this at the next appointment, uncured dust particles will come into contact with the skin, causing a potential irritation or allergy.

  • Have you addressed your gloves?

Do you know the thickness, exactly what chemicals they protect against and the chemical certification of them? Not all gloves are made the same and many don’t protect against nail ingredients, as they are designed for chemical protection against other trade ingredients. If you are not wearing the correct gloves, the ingredient will penetrate the glove, unseen and will cause skin contact. Learn more about choosing gloves that offer protection against chemical penetration of the ingredients you use here.

  • What do you wear to work?

If you wear a short-sleeved t-shirt, your arms will be bare, meaning that dust and product can come into contact with your forearms. It can be good practice to wear long sleeves and tuck these into your gloves. If you are experiencing any irritation or issue or dust encounters a particular area of your skin regularly, it is recommended to ensure this is always covered such as a high neck top, long sleeves and closed toe shoes.

Also consider what material your uniform is. Is it absorbent? If some product comes into contact with the material, it will soak through. Seek a uniform which product will not penetrate so easily and add wipeable and additional removable layers such as an apron so these can be removed should contact occur. Always have a spare uniform at work if product gets on your clothes.

Understand the root cause of an allergy and irritation to put a stop to it and prevent it occurring again.

Love Katie B x

By Editor