Tuesday, 28 May, 2024
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UK launches probe into nail gel allergic reactions

The British Government is investigating reports that increasing numbers of women are developing life-changing allergies to some acrylic and gel nail products, with dermatologists urging people to stop buying DIY home kits because of the potential, dangerous risks that have been associated with them.

Dr Deirdre Buckley of the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) said people should cut down on gel nail use and stick to “old-fashioned” polishes, after reported reactions include nails loosening or falling off, skin rashes or, in rarer cases, breathing difficulties.

BBC News reports that the Office for Product Safety and Standards has confirmed an investigation.

“All cosmetics made available in the UK must comply with strict safety laws,” the agency said. “This includes a list of ingredients to enable consumers with allergies to identify products that may be unsuitable.”

Although most gel polish manicures are safe and result in no problems, the BAD has warned that the methacrylate chemicals in gel and acrylic nails can cause allergic reactions in some people, often when these are applied at home, or by untrained technicians.

Buckley, who co-authored a report about the issue in 2018, told the BBC it was growing into “a very serious and common problem”.

“More people are buying DIY kits, developing an allergy and then going to a salon, worsening the allergy,” she said.

Gel polish treatments have spiked in popularity over recent years because the polish is long-lasting. But unlike other polishes, gel varnish needs to be “cured” under a UV light to dry.

However, the UV lamps that are bought to dry the polish do not work with every type of gel, so the acrylates – a group of chemicals used to bond the gel – do not dry properly, penetrating the nail bed and surrounding skin, causing irritation and allergies.

The allergies can leave sufferers unable to have medical treatments like white dental fillings, joint replacement surgery and even some diabetes medications. This is because once a person is sensitised, the body will no longer tolerate anything containing acrylates.

Buckley cited a case where a woman had blistering all over her hands and was booked off work for several weeks.

Nail technician Suzanne Clayton established a Facebook group when some of her clients started reacting to their gel manicures. “Three days later, there was 700 people in the group,” she said. “And it’s just exploded since then.”

Four years on, the group now has more than 37 000 members, with reports of allergies from more than 100 countries.


BBC article – Gel nails: Investigation launched into gel polish allergic reactions (Open access)


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