The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) has reported a surge in the number of people coming forward with allergies as a result of home-use gel-polish and acrylic nail kits.
BBC Radio 4’s consumer affairs programme You and Yours aired an investigation in March into serious allergic reactions from the kits, sold by highstreet chemists such as Boots. BAD said common symptoms from reactions included sore nail beds and cuticles.
Consumer interviews read out on the segment described sensitive skin that felt like it had been “dipped in acid”, “pussfilled blisters”, and even a report of natural nails lifting from the nail beds.
Gemma Lambert, PB award-winning tech and managing director of Nail Team training academy and wholesaler, spoke on the programme and said she’d also seen a rise in clients seeking help for damage to nails and skin caused by doing their own gel nails at home.
These reactions were described as “pretty serious” by Jason Williams, president of the British Society of Cutaneous Allergies, who said problems often arise when consumers mix and match different systems by using lamps that are unsuitable for the products they are used to cure, believing that every UV or LED lamp is the same.
“The lamps provided with kits are very specific to the individual gel-polish system, so when [consumers] buy polishes from different systems the lamps don’t work as well and they’re at much greater risk,” he said.
However, this warning also applies to qualified techs, some of whom try to save money by using one lamp to cure several brands of gel-polish.
Fee Wallace, CND international education ambassador, said: “Sharing scientific research is the only way we can overcome this dark element, which discredits the professionalism we all work so hard to uphold.”
She added: “Always use the lamp or lamps recommended by the brand of product you are using. A company that tells you its product cures with any lamp is just trying to sell you a product, and a company that tells you its lamp will cure any product is just trying to sell you a lamp.”
Williams called for better labelling and more awareness among consumers that home-use kits contain high-risk products. “We feel that consumers doing these nails at home are at increased risk compared to having them done in salons,” he told Radio 4.