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Nail Care & Manicures/Allergic reaction

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Question
Hello. After using acrylic nails for 15 years, I have developed an allergic reaction to either the monomer or the acetone. I do not know which and my question is.....How can I know which of these are causing my hands and fingers to turn red, itch and hurt? Additionally, are there hypoallergenic monomers and acetones on the market? Are these products used with Gel nails? Please help...I had to completely stop having my nails done and I miss them terribly! Thank you in advance!

Answer
It is unlikely that acetone is the culprit here. If you find you have a reaction to nail polish removers that contain acetone, switch to a non-acetone product.

Most often, it's the monomer that leads to problems. Unfortunately, once your skin has decided it's allergic to monomer, there's not much you can do to convince it otherwise. Simply switching to a different brand won't help much.

You'll need to find an alternative product that doesn't expose you to monomer. Many people find gels to be a solution. Brisa gel by CND is even labeled as hypoallergenic.

When looking for a salon that offers gel nails, be sure you are getting the real deal: gels are NEVER A POWDER. This has been a major issue in the nail industry for many years now-- some salons call their product "gel" when, in fact, it is actually acrylic.

Gels come in a variety of thicknesses, but they all have a honey-like consistency. They come that way. There is NO POWDER involved.

Many nail techs now refer to traditional builder gels as "hard" gels, in order to distinguish them from the newer gel polishes on the market. A hard gel can be used to build extensions, just like acrylic.

Another excellent option is a "tip and dip" system such as Extreme by a company called Backscratchers. This involves using coats of nail glue dipped or sprinkled with nail powder to add thickness and strength. Nail glue has a very low incidence of sensitivity so it's a great alternative for people who hav developed allergies.

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Maggie Franklin

Expertise

Professional Nailcare: nail enhancement chemistry and technique, mancuring and pedicuring. I am not qualified to give medical advice or make medical diagnoses.

Experience

I am a professional nail technician with 17 years experience in the professional beauty industry. I am licensed in the states of California (license #M120766) and Colorado (license #8611.) I have been an active member of the online mailing list at Beautytech.com since 1999 where I network with 100s of nail industry professionals around the world. Over the last 15 years I have accumulated several advanced training certificates, including the coveted Creative Nail Designs Master Nail Technician status, and personal training by Tammy Taylor, Tom Bachik, and Tom Holcomb. I briefly joined the competition circuit in 2002, taking first place in the second annual Strut Your Stuff Online competition in the Enhancement 2 category. In 2009 I have decided to make time in my schedule to get back into competition by joining "Team Pink," the competition team captained by current world champion nail technician, Lynn Lammers. I boast several contributions to articles that have appeared in both Nails and Nailpro magazines, including a brief stint as a Nails Magazine Help Desk contributor and now I write a semi-weekly blog for Nails Magazine while continuing to attend tradeshows and continuing education events.

Organizations
Nail Tech mailist list at Beautytech.com

Publications
Nails Magazine. Nailpro Magazine. Blogging for Nails Magazine since September, 2008: http://blogs.nailsmag.com/maggie/

Education/Credentials
CA license #M120766. CO license #8611. CND Master Nail Technician. Tom Holcomb Academy. Personal training with Tom Bachik. Two day advanced training with Tammy Taylor. AEFM certified for use of electric file. HRTE (High Road to Education) in San Jose, CA 2009.

Awards and Honors
2nd Annual Strut Your Stuff Online competition, 1st place in Enhancement 2. Member of "Team Pink" competition team 2009. 3rd place, Novice tip-and-overlay relay at IBS Las Vegas, 2009.

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