What’s your favorite beauty indulgence? Getting a routine blowout, spray tan or how about a mani/pedi? While manicures and pedicures are a nice treat, they aren’t always as simple as you think. Chemicals used in a basic manicure, and especially in the application of artificial nails, can be harmful to your nails and the surrounding skin.
The most common issue is a contact reaction. This occurs much like contact with poison ivy and can cause a rash, irritation, redness or itching under the nail and on the fingers. If an allergy does exist it is likely to also appear on the face and neck due to secondary contact. Allergies can exist from many products, something as simple as the Top Coat can cause an allergic reaction.
Gel (or Shellac) Manicures are growing in popularity due to the lasting nature of the polish. Many women think they are better for their nails and a better deal for the money. Recently Dr. Chris Adigun, assistant professor of dermatology at The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU School of Medicine, released research claiming this new fad isn’t as safe as we think. While studies haven’t determined whether the harm comes form the actual gel chemicals or if it’s the exposure to acetone to remove the nails- experts suggest limiting how often you get gel manicures or shying away completely until more details are known. 

Being open with your manicurist is also important. If they are too rough or have cut you- make sure to tell them. One of the worst side effects of manicures and pedicures is infection. While standards have been raised for facilities germs do get through and you do not want them attaching to an open cut. If your salon feels untidy to you- leave- do not risk infection.

Generally, a reputable nail salon and technician conducting basic manicure is mostly safe. Just be aware and in the know, protect yourself. Indulging in artificial or gel nails, in a safe environment, is ok, but giving your nails time to replenish and breathe between sessions is also important.

Marguerite Germain