nail fungus treatment

Allergy to gel polish can lead to rashes not only on the fingers


Gel polish is a mixture of nail polish and nail extension gel. It fits easily on the nail. Therefore, you don’t have to go to a salon to get a manicure. 

For manicure using gels and gel varnishes, special UV lamps are used, which are necessary for the hardening of the manicure. Acrylic nail paste hardens when exposed to air.

Either way, acrylated nails can last for two to four weeks. But with careless handling of gel polish, gel or acrylic, the chemicals in them can provoke a fairly strong allergy. As a result, a rash can appear not only on areas of the skin near the nails, but also throughout the body. 


For the first time, the process of polymerization of acrylates, which occurs using a combination of acrylic acid, methacrylic acid or cyanoacrylic acid with the corresponding esters, spontaneously or after exposure to ultraviolet radiation, was described back in 1877.

And in 1941 (in a patient with an allergy to methyl methacrylate (MMA)), the first case of an allergy to acrylate was already recorded. In 2012, the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS) named acrylates “Contact Allergen of the Year”. 

Out of 4,931 patients in dermatology clinics in the UK and Ireland, about 2.4% were allergic to at least one type of (meth) acrylate chemicals, according to a 2017 British Association of Dermatologists study. They are key ingredients in gel polish and other manicure products.

In another survey of 742 patients, almost one in five respondents (19%) reported negative reactions from acrylic nails made in salons, and 16% received reactions to salon gel polish. But most of all, 26% of patients had skin reactions after having extended their nails at home.

Among the victims were workers of beauty salons. Due to allergies, some of them had to change jobs.

The problem is that if you develop sensitivity to gel polish, you will have to avoid it all your life. In addition, the substances that make up such a varnish can also be contained in other things. In particular, they are used in the graphics and printing industries, in adhesives, orthopedic cement, dressings and in dental practice.

Therefore, dermatologists urge to be more careful and careful with home manicure kits. And workers who professionally provide the relevant services are advised to take additional courses.


Previously, a large proportion of reactions to nail polish and other manicure products were due to tosylamide formaldehyde resins (TSFR). This allergen is positive in 6.6% of contact dermatitis patch tests. After it became known that this substance leads to allergic reactions, TSFR-free manicure products began to appear. However, new allergens such as formaldehyde, polyester resin, dichlorethylene, amyl acetate, phthalates, guanine, sulfonamide, nitrocellulose and acrylates have been found in them . 

Some monomeric acrylates are found in both acrylic and gel nails. But, for example, 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (2-HEMA), to which up to 90% of recorded reactions develop, is present only in gel varnishes.

Among other reported cases of gel nail allergy, ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) is also referred to as the cause of the reaction.

The prevalence of allergies is attributed by dermatologists to the availability of home gel nail kits, which are sold with a UV lamp or LED light source. Consumers who use these kits have a high risk of light sensitization due to frequent reapplication of these kits, as well as improper nail hardening, skin exposure to chemicals, or lack of proper training for nail technicians.

One method of protecting your skin from varnish is to apply sunscreen and wear special protective gloves that need to be changed in case of contamination.

Nitrile gloves provide protection against acrylates for up to 60 minutes, and trilaminated polyethylene gloves for up to 4 hours.

Manicurists are also advised to wear a face shield.


Allergic reactions to acrylates can lead to loose nails or a severe red itchy rash. It can occur both on the fingertips and on any part of the skin that a person may have touched with their nails, including the eyelids, face, neck and genitals. Therefore, allergy to gel polish often remains undiagnosed. 


The main symptoms of this type of dermatitis include:

· Redness;      

· The appearance of watery calluses;      

· Itching and burning fingertips      

· Cracking and peeling skin on hands      

· Detachment of the nail plate (in severe cases).      

Occasionally, in addition to dermatitis, respiratory symptoms can also occur:

Runny nose,      

· Sore throat,      

· Cough      

Breathing problems.      

Manicure masters usually face such a reaction.

If you suspect you are allergic to gel polish, see your doctor. If the diagnosis is positive, you will most likely need to avoid acrylates in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *