Everything You Need To Know About Gel Polish and Allergic Reactions | 14 Day Manicure

Everything You Need To Know About Gel Polish and Allergic Reactions | 14 Day Manicure

In light of recent news, let us professionals help to settle your concerns so you can carry on using your favourite 14 Day Mani products confidently.

The recent, and potentially alarming, news regarding allergic reactions to gel and acrylic nails are completely understandable. That's why we’re here to answer those all-important questions and settle your concerns so you can continue using your favourite 14 Day Mani products with ease.


Why Are Gel And Acrylic Nails Under Fire Right Now?

For those who haven’t properly read into it and have only come across click-bait headlines, there have been reports of gel and acrylic nails causing allergic reactions, which may have left you questioning if gel nails are bad for you. Understandably, this then caused the Office for Product Safety and Standards to investigate the claims further. The British Association Of Dermatologists (BAD) issued a full report which you can read here.


So Why Has There Been A Rise In Allergic Reactions And Should You Be Worried?

There are two things worth noting here… the first is the potential UV damage to your hands from the lamp being used. The studies which this is based upon however are a little extreme in that they are based on daily exposure of at least 20 minutes – this is significantly more than the time you would actually spend with your hands under the light.

The second is that there could be a possible skin reaction to a binding agent ingredient called acrylates . These are a group of chemicals found in all gel polishes which are used to bond gel polish to your nail. There have been reports that when acrylates are used in high percentages (over 35%), this can potentially irritate the skin.

We spoke to dermatologist professor Catriona Ryan when the news broke who assured us this was not in fact a new or common issue. “Allergic contact dermatitis to acrylates is very rare - I have only seen one case of allergic contact dermatitis to gel nails once in my career.” Ryan echoes this too; “in my 8 years as a nail technician, I have yet to come across an allergic reaction to acrylates.”

With both UV damage and allergic reactions to acrylates, we’d just like to reiterate that there is in fact no concrete data regarding how many new reactions there have been. So, whilst there has been a rise, this could be as little as just 1 year on year. 

The bigger issue here which needs to be warned about is that the risk of irritation or reaction is far higher with improper application where users haven’t followed the correct technique or guidelines. This can typically look like not curing your nails for long enough or with a credible lamp which then causes the acrylates to seep into the skin surrounding your nail. With this in mind, here is our best advice for using gel-based nail products safely…


1. Buy Reputable Products.

As with any cosmetic product, look to buy your nail products from credible brands. “We proudly make all of our products with some of the industry’s leading nail innovators and ensure each and every one of our products is made to the highest quality,” says our founder, Suzanne Fowler.  “We also work with trusted suppliers and cosmetic regulators to ensure we not only produce high performance products but also ones which are safe to use and meet the correct trading standards.” We’re also big advocates of using a complete system from one trusted brand so make sure you’re using the same top and base coat, colour and even lamp, too. This is due to different brands having varying curing times and application methods.

...And Invest In The Right Lamp

Speaking of lamps, it’s crucial that you're using one that has the correct number of watts. It must be over 34W in order to cure the gel and ensure the product bonds to your nail properly. Rest assured that all of our 14 Day Mani Lamps are 36W, which means they are at professional standard for home and salon use.


2. Use The Right Application Method

Now you’re set with best products, it's time to familiarise yourself with the correct application process, ensuring you follow curing times. This really is the most important thing you can do for a safe gel nail manicure. If you need a reminder, you can review our professionally created online guides and videos here.


3. Remove Any Spilt Product From Your Skin

If you’re not the neatest of manicurists and often find yourself with polish spilling onto your cuticles or skin, make sure you wipe it off straight away before curing. Don’t wait until the end for any touch-ups.


4. Use SPF

We all know the importance of wearing SPF on our faces daily, but did you know this advice also extends to any exposed skin, like your hands and neck too? Be sure to apply a good quality and high factor sunscreen every day… whether you’re a gel polish user or not. We’d suggest reapplying to your hands only (not near the nail bed) pre-application if you are worried about the additional UV light exposure.


5. Go To A Trusted Professional

If you’re not applying products at home and instead prefer a salon treatment, you can also bring your favourite 14 Day Mani shades to the salon to ensure the most hygienic application with no sharing.

If you have used products from an alternative brand or visited what you thought to be an accredited technician and are looking for an answer on how to treat an allergic reaction to gel nail polish, we’d advise you to remove any product immediately and discontinue use before consulting a medical professional.


If you have any questions at all, please do reach out as our expert in-house team are always on hand to help – info@14daymani.com

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