CIDESCO asks, How safe is your manicure?

CIDESCO advises on the importance of product safety when it comes to manicures and pedicures.

Recent news has brought the safety of manicures to attention. Banned by the FDA in the US, Methyl Methacrylate is still being used in salons around the world. Often found in budget nail salons, the chemical is so strong it is used in concrete. By using it, nail technologists risk allergic reactions and even permanent damage to their clients.

CIDESCO’s lecturer of the Isa Carstens Academy in South Africa, Amanda Schooling provides more information on this issue, why it shouldn’t be used and how to undertake manicures safely and to quality standard.

Amanda highlights the importance of proper training in the industry stating; “Quality education is vital for a nail technologist. They must be aware of the chemical structure of the product they have chosen to work with. Proper training and the teaching of safe and hygienic work practices will help prevent overexposure from products. Overexposure may lead to health problems due to inhalation or absorption”.

Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) sometimes used in budget salons is a dangerous substance and should not be used on nails.

“MMA does not dissolve in acetone and is therefore difficult to remove. The nails are either pried off the natural nail or electric drills are used for removal. MMA products tend to discolour and become brittle, leading to severe nail damage” says Amanda.

“MMA products do not adhere well to the nail plate, causing thinning and weakening of the nail”. “MMA has a small molecular size and therefore can absorb into the skin risking severe allergic reactions”.

MMA should be avoided during manicures, “Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA) however, is safe for use on natural nails and far less likely to cause allergic reactions”.

Though EMA is safe for use on natural nails, Amanda stresses the importance of avoiding skin contact.

“Clients and nail technologists are at risk of allergic reactions after prolonged or repeated contact with the nail product. Amanda Schooling Head ShotTechnologists must ensure that the product is applied on to the nail and not the surrounding skin. To prevent nail inhalation, the salon must be a well-ventilated area”.

Amanda (right) stresses the importance of the Material Safety Data Sheets in safe manicures. The MSD’s “must be insisted upon before considering the product” says Amanda. The MSD’s will provide information regarding the product including:

  • Safe storage and fire prevention
  • Potentially hazardous ingredients
  • Ways the hazardous ingredients may enter the body
  • Early warning signs of overexposure
  • The short and long-term effects of overexposure
  • Safe handling techniques
  • Emergency first aid advice

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