Are Gel Polishes Safe?
We understand that after a recent BBC interview on the potential rise of allergies due to gel nail polish treatments, that many of you may be concerned and be worried about how this could impact you, your clients and your businesses.
As a new gel polish brand, we are committed to the education of allergy prevention and have actively shared tips and articles on how to reduce the risk of allergies, which we hope you have found the time to read and have helped to put your mind at rest on the subject. Below we give further advice and information on the subject.
Why have we seen a recent rise in allergies?
As stated in the BBC interview published on 14th April, dermatologists believe that the rise in reports of allergies are largely due to unqualified professionals using at-home nail kits bought from unregulated sites, which escalated considerably during the covid lockdowns. In our blog post on allergy prevention (click here to read) we outline other potential risk factors for allergies, such as using the incorrect lamp for the gel system you are using, applying to unhealthy nails and not wearing gloves.
What are 'Acrylates'?
Acrylates are a family of chemicals that help gel polishes to harden and adhere to the nail plate, giving the longevity that clients seek. When acrylates penetrate the skin, they can cause allergic reactions. Once properly cured (polymerised), the acrylates no longer pose a risk which is why it is so important to ensure proper curing of products and that no product touches the skin or is applied to an unhealthy nail. This information is stated on each of our product pages and can also be found within our FAQ's and our dedicated allergy awareness blog post.
What are 'safe levels'?
Acrylates must not exceed certain percentages of the overall total weight of the bulk ingredients of any gel polish for it to be sold under the EU Cosmetic Products Regulations 1223/2009, for example Hydroxyethyl Methacrylate, otherwise known as HEMA must not exceed 30%. Many may look to a brand's SDS to check these levels but that is not actually what SDS are primarily used for. SDS are a health and safety document for the safe storage and transportation of chemicals rather than a specific product formula.
All of TWENTY's products have been independently tested and approved for sale under the EU Cosmetic Products Regulations 1223/2009 by a third party cosmetic consultancy and our manufacturer is assessed and inspected annually by SGS a world leading inspection, testing and certification company ensuring that gold standard manufacturing processes are continually adhered to.
Is it only acrylates that cause allergies?
No, any substance within any product has the potential to cause an allergic reaction. We only have to look at gluten, a naturally occurring protein within grains that can cause severe allergic reactions to those who are sensitive to it. Therefore, it is impossible to say that any product will definitively not cause a reaction. The important point is to ensure you are following safe working practices and using reputable products that have undergone the correct safety assessments before going to market.
Where do we go from here?
Education is absolutely key to ensuring the nail industry that we know and love continues to thrive and benefits both technicians and clients. Educating yourself on safe working practices and ensuring the products you are using have been approved for safe use under the EU Cosmetic Products Regulations as well as independently safety assessed is crucial in offering both yourself and your client's peace of mind. It is also imperative that we, as beauty professionals, educate our clients on the risks of using at-home unregulated gel polish products. Not only does this pose a risk to health, but also to the reputation of the industry that we love.
Let's use this as an opportunity to educate, inform and support each other so we can continue to offer services that are not just a beauty treatment but something that uplifts a bad day, gives confidence to those who are not feeling themselves and perhaps most importantly, cultivates friendships that can last a lifetime.
Thanks for reading.