Signs You May Be Allergic To Your Gel Manicure – According to Experts

signs you may be allergic to your gel manicure – according to experts

Gel Nails Allergy

It’s fair to say that TikTok has become synonymous with viral nail trends – whether it’s Hailey Bieber’s glazed doughnut nails or the BIAB technique, there’s always an impressive array of manicure inspiration to be found. Yet, a potentially more worrying trend has been doing the rounds on social media of late, with users questioning if their favourite gel manicure is behind a buffet of allergic reactions.

But is there any truth to this?

The answer, it appears, is yes, with the British Association of Dermatologists describing artificial nail allergies in the UK, as an “epidemic.”

Dr David Orton, of the British Association of Dermatologists, said:

“It is really important that people know they can develop allergies from artificial nails. The truth is that there will be many women out there with these allergies who remain undiagnosed, because they may not link their symptoms to their nails, especially if the symptoms occur elsewhere on the body.”

Anna Silverman, Grazia’s features director, had been experiencing symptoms- namely eczema- for a year, and only recently realised her gel nails could be the culprit.

“I regularly get gel or SNS nails done at a nail salon, both of which use the UV lamp to dry the polish. Apparently when nails aren’t kept under the lamp for long enough and aren’t dried properly, that’s when it can cause irritations.”

Her symptoms included “awful” eczema around around her hands, eyes and neck.

“It came out of nowhere after I had a baby, so I assumed it was hormonal and related to giving birth” shares Anna. “It might be that having a baby disrupted my immune system making me more susceptible to allergies and eczema caused by the nails. Who knows. But the fact I get gel nails, have eczema in these places, and a clear link has been established between the two, feels too much of a coincidence – so I’m steering clear for a while to see if it helps.”

But Dr Sonia Khorana, GP with a special interest in dermatology, notes that these allergic reactions are not necessarily all down to inadequate curing. “An acrylic compound in gel manicures can cause skin irritation or contact dermatitis. To get technical, it’s usually caused by ingredients like methyl acrylate, nitrocellulose, tosylamide formaldehyde resin, camphor, dibutyl palate and some solvents.”

Scroll on for the signs that your gel manicure is causing an allergic reaction, according to Dr Khorana.

Your lips are swollen

“On occasion, those who are allergic to gel nails can have swollen lips.”

There’s a rash on your body

“A red rash can commonly occur around the eye area. It’s usually itchy and can look red, angry and bumpy.”

There’s blisters around your nails

“A sign of a more severe reaction, blisters can develop in as little as a few hours.”

Your nails are discoloured or peeling

“Nail plate discolouration and peeling can occur with prolonged use.”

Your cuticles look red

“If your cuticles look red, and feel hot and swollen, it could be a sign that you’re allergic.”

Dr Deirdre Buckley, from the Royal United Hospital Bath and President of the British Society of Cutaneous Allergy also urges people to be particularly careful when using at home kits.

“If you do use one, make sure that you use the recommended UV lamp for curing, and read the instructions carefully. Using the wrong lamp may mean that the gel polish does not cure properly, and this means an increased chance of allergy.”

Our advice? If you suspect you may be allergic to your gel polish then ensure to visit an allergist for a patch test – and lay off the UV lamp manicures in the meantime.

“I’m gutted not to get my nails done anymore,” finishes Anna. “But it’s made me realise I should question the things I put on my body more often.”

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