The promise of acrylic nails seems so sweet – more permanent than a regular polish, easy to maintain and a way to strengthen and lengthen those short, ‘ugly’ natural nails – but the side effects can be scary. Here’s everything you need to know about gel and acrylic nails.
What woman doesn’t want long, beautiful nails? As we can see by the success of the artificial nail industry, women are not only willing to shell out big money for gel and acrylic nails, they’re also sometimes willing to compromise their health.
What’s the big deal?
Well, first, the chemicals used to apply acrylic nails are notoriously unhealthy and include such offenders as resins and formaldehyde, which have been shown to cause cancer. Exposure to these chemicals through your nails over a long period of time can result in complete nail loss by destruction of the nail matrix.
Also, an artificial and natural nail has a much stronger bond than the one between a real nail and nail bed. If the nail rips from the nail bed, that gap, or space, provides a rich, moist, warm environment for bacteria and fungi (e.g., an infection) to grow. Prolonged time on the nail allows infections to worsen. With acrylics, the opposite – drying out of natural oils – can occur, which can cause damage and splitting. Rigidly adhered acrylics may also lead to serious nail breaks, infection and loss of the natural nail.
Allergic reactions have also been reported with acrylic nails, resulting in serious inflammation and thinning of the beds. The healing time, resulting in pain and sensitivity, can last more than a year.
Also beware, some disreputable nail salons are using a poisonous and illegal substance called MMA in their nail adhesives. MMA (Methyl Methacrylate) can cause serious damage to the lungs as well as permanent damage to your natural nails.
MMA is an ingredient sometimes found in liquid monomers used to make artificial nail enhancements. MMA is considered a safe ingredient for dental prostheses but a health hazard in the salon.
Clients must be warned of the risks associated with MMA including severe allergic reactions, permanent loss of sensation in the fingertips, nail damage, deformities and respiratory problems with eye, nose and throat irritation.
The FDA classifies MMA as “a poisonous and deleterious substance” and has deemed it unsuitable for salon use. Even with this knowledge, some salons still use liquid monomers containing MMA.
I’m sticking with natural
Some all natural, eco-friendly nail polishes can now give you an amazing look. If you take good care of your nails and give yourself a weekly manicure, you can achieve the look of artificial nails without compromising your health.