TWENTY™ Guide to Allergy Prevention
As a manufacturer of professional nail products, we believe it is our duty to promote and educate on safe working practices for those using our products. Over recent years, the cases of allergies related to nail enhancements both UV gel and acrylic monomers have risen, largely due to the availability of 'at home' nail products being applied by unqualified individuals.
The 2019 Guideline for Artificially Enhanced Nails and Minimising the Risk of Allergy by the CTPA (Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association) states that the 'acrylate' chemicals responsible for most allergies caused by both UV gel and acrylic products are "safe to use if used properly and responsibly". It is also stated that the main reason for allergies is due to the contact of uncured product on the skin. Once the product is cured properly, it no longer poses a problem.
Below, we have outlined the CTPA's guideline on reducing the risk of allergy in both clients and nail technicians so that you can be confident that you are taking measures to ensure your safety while continuing to do the job you love.
1. Apply to healthy nails only
It is important that the nail is not damaged before applying any gel product. Damaged nails could increase the absorption of any acrylate ingredient and the risk of developing reactions. Do not remove nail ridges and do not apply to nails if the nail is cracked, split or bruised and do not apply if the skin surrounding the nail is looking sore or inflamed or the skin is broken.
2. Avoid any contact with skin
Safe use requires that the gel system does not touch any part of the skin and that it only comes into contact with the nail itself. This requires very careful application. The CTPA states "This is difficult to achieve when attempting to apply these products at home and the use of a fully-trained and competent nail professional is recommended. Allergies arising from the misuse of acrylates can be reduced with education and correct usage."
3. Always wear gloves
Industry best practice recommends that all nail techs wear nitrile gloves with a minimum thickness of 0.8mm, for those techs with existing allergies, two pairs of gloves are recommended.
Gloves should be removed using a 'no touch' method by pulling down from the wrist, over the hand, rather than removing from the finger tips where uncured product may remain.
Gloves should be changed between each client and never reused. Treat all wipes and gloves as 'contaminated waste' and dispose of accordingly.
4. Ensure correct curing of product
As mentioned above, the CTPA outlines that the main cause of allergy in relation to UV gel products is the insufficient curing of the product which allows monomers to penetrate the skin. Once properly cured, these monomers polymerise (harden) and no longer pose a problem.
It is imperative that the correct lamp is used to cure gel products and it is extremely important to follow manufacturer curing times and lamp power for each product.
UV gel polishes may harden in as little as 10 seconds, but that does not mean the product is fully polymerised (cured). Each coat of TWENTY™ gel colours, glitters, top and base coats cure fully in 48W UV/LED lamps with a minimum of 365 nanometers at 60 seconds. BUILD & BOOST™ requires 99 seconds in low heat mode to prevent heat spikes and ensure proper curing. All our products have been tested with 48W SunUV lamps.
It is not possible to 'over cure' TWENTY™ products and if the nails are removed from the lamp at any time during the curing process, lost seconds must be made up for with another round of curing. If concerned, double the curing time.
5. Lamp maintenance
Nail lamps are one of the most important part of a nail tech's kit and must be maintained to ensure proper curing. Ensure bulbs are all working and free from gel product before each use, clients may have knocked their nails onto the bulbs when placing them into the lamp and transferred product onto the bulbs, reducing their effectiveness.
Check the expected bulb life for your lamp (usually found in the lamp's manual or box) and calculate if your lamp or bulbs may need replacing.
PAT test your lamp each year to ensure it is in good working order and covered by your insurance.
Proper ventilation is particularly important when removing gel polish, especially when hand filing or e-filing. If the product was not cured correctly, those dust particles will contain un-polymerised product and can lead to allergic reactions. Consider investing in a dust extraction unit that draws particles away, preventing them from being inhaled or sitting on the skin.
7. Use reputable products
The CTPA advises in their guidelines to only use reputable products, stating
"UV gel products must comply with the Cosmetic Products Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009. This regulation is seen as a gold standard for cosmetic safety across the world. Nail care professionals have a duty of care to their clients and staff . Be suspicious of any products offered for sale from unusual places such as less well-known internet sites and always be wary of offers that seem ‘too good to be true."
All TWENTY™ products have been assessed by an unbiased, qualified cosmetic safety assessor and comply with the Cosmetic Products Regulation No 1223/2009. All our product safety assessments can be accessed here.
8. Educate clients
While we send our clients away with aftercare advice on how to keep their mani's looking fresh and long lasting, rarely do we educate them on the hazards of using unregulated at home gel nail systems. It is a good idea to run through the process of a professional gel manicure while you are carrying it out to highlight the risks of opting for a cheaper, self applied option.
We believe that with proper education and safety measures, we can continue to use the products that deliver fantastic results while mitigating the risk of allergy. While only 2% of regular nail clients have been shown to experience allergic reactions to nail enhancements after prolonged and consistent exposure, it is our responsibility to inform each other and the wider public of safe and proper working practices to ensure the industry we adore continues to thrive 🤍
If you would like to ask any further questions regarding TWENTY™ please contact us at email@example.com