PRODUCT INFORMATION & APPLICATION
DISCUSSION AROUND ALLERGIES & INFECTIONS
In light of the current discussion regarding allergies in the industry, Allure Nails discusses everything you need to know about what causes allergies with direct information from the CTPA (the trade association for the UK cosmetics industry) in this detailed 10-minute read.
Allergies and Infections are nail techs worst nightmare and they shouldn’t ever happen BUT, there have been recent industry-wide discussions surrounding what to do when an allergy does occur and what the hell causes them in the first place…
As nail professionals, it’s our duty to understand this fully before carrying out any nail treatments, as the occurrence of allergies and infections not only puts the client and your business at risk but the reputation of the entire gel polish industry.
Here at Allure Nails, we understand that wholeheartedly – we may not be the oldest brand in the book, but we’re born and bred in the industry and we take every customer query home with us at night and rightly so! It was this love of the industry that first pushed us to create our own line of safe to use (and adherent to strict cosmetic law) vegan gel polishes in the huge range of colours we have today.
Even from a business point of view, if consumers stop demanding gel in fear of allergies, that puts both us and our customers at risk and we love this community just too darn much to ever risk that, SO we’ve chatted to the CTPA (Cosmetics, Toiletry & Perfumery Association UK) to find out what exactly causes allergies and what is safe and what is not.
We’ll do our best to discuss this below in a way that is absolutely free from jargon and fear-mongering (we’re firm believers education should always be positive) but if you still feel unsure about any information, we recommend you to visit the CTPA directly at: www.ctpa.org.uk and www.thefactsabout.co.uk
First things first: Cosmetic products are one of the safest products available to consumers. All cosmetics sold in the UK are regulated by very strict European laws (specifically the EU Cosmetic Products Regulation 1223/2009).
This law requires ALL products sold in the EU to undergo an in-depth safety assessment by an unbiased, qualified cosmetic safety assessor (who specialises in this law) to ensure that the product is safe to use and contains no harmful ingredients. All of this has to happen before the product is ever sold.
However, it is true that almost any substance, natural or man-made can cause a reaction in somebody, somewhere. Some people are even allergic to water! Everybody is different and we may find that one person has a reaction to something that thousands of people use without any problems. For example, some people can eat Peanuts safely, whilst some can have severe allergies to them.
Unless a company gets feedback from its consumers about any undesirable effects, it will not know if reactions are occurring. Whilst these reactions can be very stressful and unfortunate for those who experience them, it rarely means the product is unsafe for the general population – just this individual. This is why it’s super important to always contact the cosmetics company directly via their customer helplines (i.e not social media or other informal means) if you’ve experienced an undesirable reaction. FYI: you can always reach us via email@example.com.
The law requires companies to keep records of and review all undesirable effects (we absolutely do at the rare chance they occur) so that they can ensure safety assessments are always up to date.
Most of the time a reaction will clear up by itself after the product has been stopped being used. People may use a product several times, or even for years until a reaction occurs. Unless this reaction clears up quickly, it is important to always seek medical advice and to try and opt to see a dermatologist who will be able to assess the issue and often, what caused it.
The causes of these reactions (itchiness, rashes on the face, arms or nails, nail plate lifting or blistering) are almost always are linked to exposure of uncured acrylates. Acrylates are safe to use in cosmetics and they are a key ingredient in all artificial nail products but it is absolutely key to use them properly and safely to avoid a reaction.
When performing UV/LED Gel Nails or an acrylic nail treatment it is absolutely important to seek out reputable products and to use them correctly to avoid the above reactions occurring. Any nail products sold on the EU market MUST comply with the EU Cosmetics Products Regulation 1223/2009. This is considered to be the gold standard for cosmetic safety across the global nail industry and all products need to be assessed by an independent scientific professional to ensure all ingredients and levels of ingredients are absolutely safe for the general and intended use.
Often in the nail world, undesirable effects aren’t caused directly by the product, but by an incorrect or unsafe application. So how can you make sure you aren’t putting your clients at risk?
TIPS FOR SAFE APPLICATION
1. Understand the product you’re applying…
We might use it every day, but do you actually know what UV Gel is? UV Gel Nails require curing or hardening by ultraviolet (UV) or UV LED lamp. The gel is usually a mix of short urethane polymers and methacrylate polymers (such as 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) and a photoinitiator which is the ingredient required to begin something called the polymerisation process. The gel is then sculpted onto the natural nail to form the final shape and cured under a lamp which emits UV energy.
2. Avoid Skin Contact
Safe use requires that any artificial nail system must not be allowed to contact any part of the skin and must only come into contact with the nail itself. This requires very careful, well educated, professional application.
“Allergies arising from the misuse of acrylates (gel and acrylic products) can be reduced with education and correct usage.” – CTPA Artificial Nail Guideline
3. Only Apply to Healthy Nails
Nails must not be damaged before applying gel polish. Damaged nails could increase absorption of the ingredient and thus the risk of developing reactions. You should never remove nail ridges or apply gel polish to nails that are cracked, split or bruised. If the surrounding skin is looking sore, inflamed or broken then you should also not apply any gel.
4. Wear Appropriate Gloves
Wear nitrile gloves of at least 0.8mm when applying the product and removing any uncured gel. Treat any tissues or wipes containing uncured gel as contaminated and do not handle them unless wearing gloves or allow them to touch the skin under any circumstances. You should never reuse gloves and washing them will not remove the material – it will only put you at risk of reaction. You should practice a technique that ensures you do not touch the contaminated fingers of the gloves when removing them.
5. Using the correct lamp
As explained above, reactions are very rarely caused by the product, but by contact with the skin of uncured gel. Thus it is extremely important to use the correct lamp to make sure the gel is correctly and fully cured. This lamp should be tested for compatibility with the brand of gel which you are applying. It is not possible to tell if the product is fully cured just by looking at or touching the gel, so you must always follow the manufacturers’ instructions and cure for the full amount of time in the correct lamp.
6. Don’t over-file
It’s easy to forget that nails are a delicate part of our body and they can be affected by trauma. Think – when a nail gets caught in a car door or your stub your toe, it can cause significant bruising or even for the nail to come off completely. The same can happen if you over file a nail or if you change gels too often. Opt for a product that has good lasting times (we provide an average of 4 weeks chip free) to ensure you are not over filing and causing any trauma to the nail plate.
7. Follow facts, not speculation.
It’s important to remember that not everything you see on social media is true and that not everybody who claims to be an expert is. Always make sure you do your own independent research with your educator and check any queries with an unbiased science or health professional before following the advice offered on social media, particularly if the advice is not coming from a proven qualified nail or science professional or if you think the advice-giver may have an agenda to push. Trust your instinct, you are a qualified professional and you know your routine – what can you do to make that safer?
Always remember that we don’t just make these rules to be ‘strict’ or to get you to purchase products. It’s super important to follow manufacturer instructions so that you can be absolutely certain of safe, reaction-free use.
All our products are tested and are compliant with EU cosmetic standard and law (a.k.a the gold standard – yeah baby!) and are designed with both nail tech and customer safety as an absolute priority.
STILL GOT QUESTIONS?
If you’re ever unsure about any of the above, or if you’ve contracted an undesirable reaction please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0191 483 4993. We are open Mon-Tues 10am-7pm, Wed 9am-9pm, Thur 9am-8pm, Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-4pm Closed Sunday and are always available to help and answer your queries where we are qualified to do so. There’s no such thing as a silly question, so ask away!
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