I just had to share this excellent post by Hannah McAndrew an Educator based at the CND Bridgend Academy:
“I know I don’t have a huge following on this page but I feel I need to write this for the good of the industry and hope it goes far and wide so please share:
There are only a handful of factories in the world that produce gel polishes. If you imagine there are hundreds of brands out there now compared to 2 when I started in this industry. The vast majority of brands out there are the same.
Why is this important? Because the vast majority of these brands are white label or generic products made in the South East with little safety data, no chemist designing a UV lamp to go with the system and they have literally exploded into the market over the past few years (more so the last 2 years I would say). They have been hailed as ‘wonder’ products that last forever on the nail and are so strong the natural nail underneath doesn’t even break! And they are a fraction of the cost of high end brands that make all their own products in house. So much so that now they are becoming mainstream and with the right marketing, a cheap brand can be made to look like a high end brand.
So what does this mean for the industry? A huge spike in allergies mainly in technicians but also in clients. You only have to Google ‘UV cured’ and ‘allergies’ to read dozens of dermatology articles on this subject.
Now let me make it clear before you think I’m blaming the product alone: no UV cured nail product is designed to touch the skin in its uncured state. Whilst uncured, the monomers inside (which are later converted to larger polymers during the curing process) have the potential to enter the skin and cause a reaction. This probably won’t happen on first contact, but does occur when the product repeatedly touches the skin. It could take years. These reactions are nasty (see attached photo) and once allergic, you are allergic for life to that particular monomer.
You could change brands at this stage, however the immune system can then recognise another monomer as a chemical it needs to react to so sometimes this does not work, meaning the technician has to give up working. In the case of a client it means they may not be able to receive these UV cured services any more 😕 This would be absolutely devastating for the industry that enables us to earn a living!
There are simple ways to avoid an allergy (amongst others): DO NOT TOUCH THE SKIN and USE THE CORRECT UV LAMP for the system you are using. Undercured products may appear hardened but still contain the unreacted monomers in the coating which the client will then touch their skin with over the next 2-3 weeks, and they will touch the skin even more during the soak off process.
Some of these cheap brands do not even have their own light! What does this tell you about the ethics of the companies producing them? And those bringing them into the country and distributing them? Are their educators even teaching overexposure on their nail courses? These are questions to be asking yourself when deciding on a professional brand to use.
There are only a handful of UV cured products out there which are HEMA free (HEMA is a type of monomer known to cause this reaction more so than others), they may be able to help those already affected. Please do your research on what you are putting on yourself and your clients, and more importantly, invest in your education.
I teach hundreds of nail techs using UV cured products annually, I would estimate the proportion of them who have never heard of this issue to be over 90%, and these are the technicians keeping up with their CPD and attending conversion classes when it isn’t even expected of them by their insurance company. What about the thousands of other techs out there who attend a day course, buy hundreds of these cheap polishes but never invest in good education?
Techs please read some articles at least on this subject, saynotoallergies.today is a good place to start. Doug Schoon’s books are also amazing.
If there are any clients reading this please ask your technicians some awkward questions on where their products are made, what they contain, if they have their own lamp to go with the product, if they have safety data sheets on the product etc etc. True professionals will welcome these questions and be able to answer them. #saynotoallergies #cpd #gelpolish #uvcuring #dermatitis #professionalonly #nailindustry”
Post and picture are all Hannah’s, to see more of Hannah’s work or find out about courses try these links: