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General Guidelines to Avoid Overexposure to Nail Products

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What is a chemical? Everything you can see or touch is a chemical.

No chemical, no matter how dangerous can harm you unless you over-expose yourself.

Over-exposure is a chemical hazard caused by prolonged and repeated exposure beyond levels specified as safe by regulatory agencies.

Becoming ‘sensitive’ to a product does not happen over night! A good analogy is that of a hairdresser who through prolonged and repeated exposure, to the chemicals in shampoo, develops dermatitis and can no longer tolerate the substance. This intolerance probably took months to develop.

Allergies thankfully are rare in the nail industry, but the technician is the person most at risk, as he/she is working with chemical products for prolonged periods every day. Becoming allergic to a substance is completely avoidable when you employ good working practices with the chemicals you use. All chemical products are safe to work with when the person using them works safely!

Learning to recognize the signs of over exposure will help you to stop any un-safe habits that are exposing you to the product before you develop any kind of skin reaction.

Keep products meant for nails away from your skin.

The most common sign of over-exposure is skin irritation. Irritation is temporary; it itches, you scratch it and it goes away. Because it goes away, you forget about it instead of wondering why you’re itching in the first place? Until the next time! If you are itching on your wrist or your fingers it indicates that you are coming into skin contact with the products that are meant for nails.

  • Always transfer liquids using an eye-dropper.
  • Avoid getting ‘sticky’ gels or gel residue on the skin.
  • Never use Monomer without polymer.
  • Avoid wiping your brush on your paper and then leaning in it!
  • Change paper towels frequently, and brush excess dust from your abrasives regularly.
  • Avoid over-spraying Activators and excessive inhalation.
  • Re-shape your brush using a soft tissue or lint free pad NOT your bare fingers.
  • Make the finished nail with your brush to avoid excess filing and therefore excess dust.
  • Never ‘clean’ around the cuticle or down the sides of the nails with a wet brush. The soft tissue surrounding the nail is like any other soft tissue and should not be touched with any type of un-cured product.
  • When using liquid and powder avoid working too wet , as excess un-cured liquid will ‘run off’ onto the skin.
  • Do precision work, carefully and nail products will not touch the soft tissue surrounding the nail plate.

If clean working habits are developed at an early stage then there will be no need to wear gloves or masks and you will be far less at risk than the technician who has developed bad habits through lack of regular on-going education. Unsafe habits can be broken.

What if an irritation is ignored?

Ignoring, or not recognizing, that irritation is a sign that you are over-exposing yourself can lead to skin sensitivity. If you become sensitive to a product then you have ‘crossed the line’ and your skin will erupt or become inflamed every time you come in contact with the chemical that is affecting you. The only options open to you would be some sort of protection (gloves (Nitrile), mask, barrier cream etc.) or to change the products you are using. Once allergic ... always allergic.

All of the symptoms described, irritation, sensitization, and allergy, are avoidable if correct working practices and techniques are adhered to.
 

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