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Allergic to nail products

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Soraima

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Hello. I am from the Bronx and within this year I’ve been interested in the nail business. I bought tons of nail supplies to begin my home business. I was introduced to the apre gel x system by a professional. I tried it for about 3 months until I began to react to it. At first I thought it was eczema because of googles suggestions. I went to the dermatologist and was tested for several things and turned out I didn’t react to anything I was tested for. I let my hands heal and decided to do a set on myself. The next morning woke up with swollen and itchy fingers. Had to remove the nails. Days after my fingers were in bad shape. I too feel depressed because I feel like I can no longer get my nails done. I waited for my hands to heal more then half way when I decided to do someone’s fullset. I used gloves never came in contact with the gel it self and the next day I woke up the same way. Itchy. This time the reaction wasn’t as bad as it was when I did my own set. I have no idea what to do. I’m so discouraged. I read somewhere to try HEMA free products. No sure what that even means. I’m waiting to fully heal to test on a single finger with a different brand to see if I can find something because if I no longer can get my nails done I’ll be devastated!!!
 

Haircutz

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Are you fully qualified?
Yes, it does sound like an allergy to gel products, but you’ll need to get tested to see exactly which ingredients. Until you do that, I’d leave off playing around with any brand of nail products for now, as any reaction is likely to get worse each time.
 

Soraima

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Are you fully qualified?
Yes, it does sound like an allergy to gel products, but you’ll need to get tested to see exactly which ingredients. Until you do that, I’d leave off playing around with any brand of nail products for now, as any reaction is likely to get worse each time.
Thanks that sounds like the best idea.
 

BobSweden

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What did the dermatologist test for exactly? There is a standard allergy test for reactions to perfume, nickel, etc. But there is also an optional Methacrylate patch test where 13 other artificial nail product ingredients are tested. Perhaps they didn't perform this test?

If you have a copy of the report and send that to me privately here, I can advise further.

In the meantime, please take Haircutz and don't use the products or even HEMA-free products until we know more. You can make the situation worse and develop more allergies very easily.
 

againstm

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Great advice here.

I'm not sure if this is the case from your post but you really shouldn't be taking clients unless you're licensed. In NY, you need 250 hours in nail school, you need to take your state boards, and then you can apply for a license. I know that's expensive but I think you've illustrated why school is necessary. You don't know what HEMA is but you're doing nails. It's the most common allergen in the industry. You can do the most bomb-ass nails on the block but if you don't know safety protocols, it's all for nothing.

Are you just practicing on other people or are you taking clients? If you're taking clients without a license, you'll be fined hundreds of dollars by the state if someone files a complaint. New York also has a new-ish law in place (it's not being enforced yet) that requires nail salons to vent outside with a professional ventilation system. If you're taking clients at home, you need still need to comply. NY's nail industry is has been under a great deal of scrutiny following the NYT's series of exposés on slave labor and occupational hazards in NYC salons.

So get your allergy panel, including methacrylates, and hold off on taking clients or buying products until you can get some legit education. It's for your own safety.
 

Haydangate

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I am allergic to gel polish too. I use a barrier cream under my gloves because I read that latex can be porous to some chemicals. When removing the gloves I take extra care not to touch my the hands with the contaminated gloves then I wash them thoroughly. I can not wear gel myself even if I'm really careful around the cuticle and side wall, I even had my fingers swell and nails lifted as a result and the itching is crazy Xx
 

againstm

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I am allergic to gel polish too. I use a barrier cream under my gloves because I read that latex can be porous to some chemicals. When removing the gloves I take extra care not to touch my the hands with the contaminated gloves then I wash them thoroughly. I can not wear gel myself even if I'm really careful around the cuticle and side wall, I even had my fingers swell and nails lifted as a result and the itching is crazy Xx
Instead of laxtex, which is an allergen, I use nitrile for everything except pure acetone. I don't use acetone often because I prefer to e-file everything for speed but when I do, I use vinyl gloves. Maybe that combo will work better than latex for you as well. I'd still use the barrier cream regardless as extra protection.

According to this safety info from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Admininstration in the United States), nitrile gloves are impervious to most of the chemicals in the salon. Vinyl or latex gloves are really only necessary for acetone. Following this advice has served me well. Here's the OSHA pamphlet I'm referring to.
 
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Haydangate

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Yeah I discovered latex went in holes with the acetone, because I soak gel off and reapply using the same gloves I prefer to keep the same ones on for the entire treatment due to the amount of environmental waste. X
 
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BobSweden

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I am allergic to gel polish too.
You are not allergic to gel polish, but specific ingredients in some gel polishes. Some of the same ingredients might also be used in gels and acrylics. If you have a Methacrylate patch test done at a Dermatologist, they will test for 13 or the most common nail product ingredients. Once you have that info, you can find a gel polish that doesn't contain these. Or you can use a hypoallergenic gel polish (hint, hint!), that contains none of the patch test ingredients.
 

Haydangate

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This site really has a bitchy undertone! I was mearly saying I have found myself allergic too. I was trying to help! I'm leaving this forum like I've seen many others recently.
 

Valerie N

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This site really has a bitchy undertone! I was mearly saying I have found myself allergic too. I was trying to help! I'm leaving this forum like I've seen many others recently.
What to do when even the moderator has a bitchy attitude 🤣?

Light-hearted jokes aside the huge problem with nail tech education is there is really no strict standards so you get a lot of bits of valuable info from one person or company to the next to try to piece together what the grand scheme of things look like.

BIGGGER problem is you get a lot of false info that is not helpful and a few individuals that think they know it all. In my case, I apparently love riding my high horse. It's a nicer view from here.

I know what you meant by allergic to gel polish. Most allergies to an ingredient in gel polish can lead you to become allergic to all gel polishes. I.e. First you became allergic to HEMA, then got tested and found you are allergic to all classes of acrylates AND methacrylates. I don't know ANY gel polish that doesn't contain these ingredients so you are valid in saying you are allergic to gel polish in general. Most people who are allergic don't find a gel polish that they won't react to. They would have to try a slew of different gel formulations and just end up sensitizing themselves even more if each subsequent trial gel polish doesn't work for them.

Lastly, I applaud you for still working with gel for clients even though it's risking your own health. I could never.
 

jlsdds

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Most professionals know that it’s a particular or combination of ingredients that are bothersome to those who are sensitive and become unable to expose themselves to nail enhancement products.

I am able to use CND gel polish, but if I have to use other brands too much I start seeing tiny blisters on my fingers and the itching starts. The symptoms will abate after a few days of no sensitizing product usage.

This started for me when my salon started using multiple brands of the new hard gel products about 15 years ago. At that time, there wasn’t enough material or directions warning techs about the ‘inhibition (tacky) layer’. I saved the directions from all the companies and went over them again and again. Yes, we were following directions to the letter. Generally it was, soak a cotton ball in our alcohol and rub it off. No mention of not getting it on your skin. What was the layer?

One company included tiny tear off sponges to remove the tacky layer. Each time you did that you soaked your fingers in uncured gel. I emailed that company and they replied that the layer was about 3% uncured product. The reason they didn’t include plastic backed pads was ‘it is too expensive for our overseas customers.’ Out of the 10 emails I sent, INS was the only one who responded.

I found only one obscure sentence in a book annotated by Doug Schoon that recommended using a plastic backed cotton pad. At that time the plastic backed cotton pad didn’t exist! Or at least, I could never find to purchase.

I sold all gel products to another salon, wore cream, white cotton gloves and 3 layers of nitrile every day for 4 years until the hands started to heal. I saved some pictures of the healing hands and fingers and show them to all new nail techs I train. One MUST know th products and how to use them without compromising health.

At that time, many techs were having the same trouble. A new product, everyone trying for their market share and not taking the time to educate and protect. Sometimes we learn the hard way. For me, it’s sensitivity that I will have to control and/or manage for the rest of my career.
 

jlsdds

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This site really has a bitchy undertone! I was mearly saying I have found myself allergic too. I was trying to help! I'm leaving this forum like I've seen many others recently.
Please don’t leave just yet. There can be interesting topics to read and your input is valuable, too. One who want to learn can look past the irritation and find a few gems now and again.
 

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