Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Your beautiful gel and acrylic manicure: Beauty or Beast?

Beauty or Beast?

Nail extension and overlays have been with us for more than 40 years and although the industry has grown and safer products are being used, there are still ingredients in use that are not-so-beautiful....

Before talking about these enhancements, one should have a look at the function of the normal nail.  No, I am not going to give you a nail anatomy class, just the basics.

Basic nail anatomy
The nail (nail plate) that we can see on the outside is formed form layers of keratin (not living tissue).  The nail plates lay on the nail bed (the living part) and protect the finger tips form damage and wear-and tear during our daily use of our hands.

The eponychium is the living tissue at the base of your nail that creates a protective seal with the nail plate and the nail bed.  This seal helps to keep bacteria out and the nail matrix (where the new cells are formed) healthy.  One should never, ever cut the eponychium. Not ever your manicurist/nail technician should do this. Please stop them immediately should the want to do that.  It is outside of their field of training to cut living tissue! If we damage any area of the nail plate that is attached to the nail bed, it can lead to inflammation and infections

The nail plate hardens when it comes into contact with oxygen (please note; nails do not breath!) So, it then stands to reason, that if you cover the nail plates with any artificial product, you stop the oxygen from reaching them and they will soften, weaken and break/tear/split.

During the nail enhancement treatment, the nails will be buffed to create a rough surface for the nail enhancements to adhere properly. If the nails are buffed too much the nail bed will become damaged and the nail plate may form ridges or dents and nail plates may lift (a happy place for bacteria to live in) or the nails may be permanently disfigured.

If nail extensions are glued on, the glue penetrates some of layer of the nail plate and further helps to soften and weaken the nail.
Natural nails-beautiful and healthy

Here is a list of the ingredients most commonly used in nail enhancements:

Ethyl and Methyl Methacrylate in Monomer Liquid and Polymer powder as well as gel and gel polish

MMA in its liquid form has been banned for use in the nail industry due to the severity of allergic reaction and damage to the natural nail plate. It adheres so tightly to the nail plate that it can literally rip the nail plate from the nail bed due to heavy pressure from a blow or trauma to the nail. MMA is so hard that it cannot be safely removed from the nail plate by soaking in any form of remover - it must be filed from the nail plate with a heavy abrasive.

It has been associated with:
Irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and respiratory tract.
Repeated exposure resulted in drowsiness, dizzy spells, and trembling of the hands.
Prolonged usage may contribute to nail damage and deformities in nail growth.
Permanent loss of the nail plate
Loss of sensation in the fingertips
Potential miscarriages,
Kidney lesions,
Liver problems
Permanent respiratory issues—including cancer.

 Although both Europe and America has banned its use, it is still legal to use in most other countries.

Primers are used before any nail enhancements are applied the the nail to help the gel or acrylic to adhere better. It normally contains a fast-drying solvent like acetone or ethyl acetate. Ethyl acetate can cause irritation to the eyes, skin, nose, throat and can cause narcosis and dermatitis.

Resin modifiers
Resin modifiers are added to the acrylic liquid and  powder to control the properties of the resin.  The most common is ethylene glycol dimethacrylate: According to Spectrum Chemical Company it is
hazardous in case of skin or eye contact and inhalation (https://www.spectrumchemical.com/MSDS/E0190.PDF)

Everyone wants beautiful nails!

Although acetone has been safely used for many years, long term exposure of the skin, eyes, and respiratory system to acetone may produce mild symptoms, such as dizziness, headaches, and disorientation and irritation of the eyes and skin

Be scared, be very scared........
In a survey conducted by the British Association of Dermatologists they research concluded that out of 742 people, 19% of those had "experienced adverse effects from acrylic nails applied in salons, and 16% from gel polish nails applied in salon”. The reactions included "nail damage and allergic dermatitis — itching and swelling on hands, eyelids, cheeks, and neck." Although very rare, the study pinpointed breathing problems as an issue, too. 

The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology's following articles makes for interesting reading: 

Sorry to put a damper on your beautiful nails, but are you willing to take the risk?

Please also read: Beautiful nails, the natural way....at https://agbeautysalon.blogspot.com/2015/10/beautiful-nails-natural-way.html


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