If you watch television shows 20/20 or The Today Show, then you will know that artificial nails may be dangerous to not only women wearing them, but the technicians who apply them as well. It is these facts that research shows that many salon owners and manufacturers wants to hide from the general public.

artificial nailsOur nails are porous and can absorb chemicals and compounds right into them, the same way our skin does. Local salon owner, Erin Dawson of Inspirations Salon chooses to use LCN gel nails at her salon instead of the potentially dangerous acrylics. She states “Acrylic nails contain harmful chemicals that enter your blood stream every time you have your nails done.” These chemicals, such as formaldehyde and the resin used to apply acrylic nails, have been linked to cancer. So for those women who gets their routinely manicures can be at risk of significant exposure to these chemicals.

Methyl methacrylate or MMA is a substance contained in nail adhesive and was banned by the FDA in the 1970. It had been known to cause damages to the nails as well as serious lung damage. Extended exposure to MMA can even result in complete loss of the nail. Compliant salons have replaced MMA with ethyl methacrylate (EMA), albeit a seemingly less dangerous chemical, one known to cause eye, skin and respiratory tract irritation.

Acrylic nails are known to harbor a variety of bacteria and can aggravate the nail bed according to the American Society for Surgery of the Hand. 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. Besides being painful, these infections can require surgery and weaken the immune system. The top layer of the nail may sometimes remove whenever the acrylic nail is removed. The nail then becomes damaged and weakened, not only from the chemical but also from excessive filling away on the nail bed.

Research surrounding the health risks to nail technicians applying acrylics is disconcerting. One Colorado study found six nail technicians diagnosed with occupational asthma –all of which applied acrylic nails. Other studies have found an increased risk of spontaneous abortion in nail technicians, leading some technicians to quit their jobs during pregnancy to reduce the risk. The chemical of most concern to pregnant manicurists has been acrylate (acrylic nail glue). Nail technicians diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma believe the chemicals used with acrylics to be the culprit. Studies have also found significance in the difficulties nail technicians exhibit with attention, memory, cognitive processing, learning and sense of smell. Air monitoring in salons has detected formaldehyde, acrylic dusts and vapors, dibutyl phthalate, ethanol, acetone and toluene. A majority of Boston nail technicians surveyed responded that the odors at work made them feel sick, specifically the odors associated with acrylic nail glues. Reported symptoms included headaches and skin and respiratory problems. It seems likely that what is hazardous to the workers themselves will also be hazardous to the customer.

For those women who are addicted to getting manicures, there is a healthier alternative free of the formaldehyde and harmful chemicals in acrylics that break down natural nails. The technological breakthrough, Light Cured Gel Nails (LCN), uses a light cured resin to provide a stronger, longer-lasting and healthier nail treatment. The ingredients are gentle and safe enough to be used continually on natural nails. According to Inspirations Salon owner Erin Dawson, “These gels are strong and beautiful, with the look of what your nails would look like if they were your own. There are no plastic tips or glue applied. They are hand-sculpted nails with a natural brilliant shine that never dulls. They will never yellow or crack like acrylics, and you can expect 3-4 weeks before a fill in is necessary.” Other pluses are you won’t be inhaling toxins and the nails are much less prone to breaking and lifting. And because gel nails are non-porous, they actually protect the nail.

If you go to a nail salon, you will always notice the nail technician wearing a mask and closes the  jars every time after a fill-in. If they know that is unsafe, then why not turn to a n alternative that is healthier to your health? Well, the reason most salons don’t offer LCN gel nails is because LCN gel nails are more costly to the salon. There are salons which don’t believe in jeopardizing the health of their customers in order to pay the bills. The price of beauty is not worth the price of health. Yes the cost of your nail may be a little higher, but the integrity of your nail should be first priority.”

As is often the case, Americans are behind the times. Approximately 90% of Europeans have already converted to gel nails. But beware; all gel nails are not alike. “Acrylic gel” contains formaldehyde.LCN is one brand that can be depended on to be free of harmful ingredients.

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