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24 Aug

Gel Nail Allergy: Safety, Concerns, and Prevention Suggestions

“Gel or regular polish?” This query sets the stage for each nail appointment — and gel often emerges because the favored contender. Despite its premium, the gel manicure maintains its appeal over the standard alternative due to its quicker drying time, hard-to-beat durability, and minimal upkeep. Yet, safety concerns have recently emerged about them, fueled by growing discussions about gel nail allergies on social media platforms like TikTok.

As an illustration, content creator Dani Lutin took to the platform in July to warn others about her suspected allergy to Aprés Nail Gel-X suggestions, a number one brand of nail extensions product of soft gel. (Consider Gel-X because the “Kleenex” equivalent of gel extensions. Other brands of gel extensions include GelFx by Orly, Kiara Sky Gelly Suggestions, and Gelish Soft Gel.)

Lutin shared graphic photos and videos showcasing inflamed cuticles and blistered, peeling fingertips. Her video went viral, garnering tens of millions of views And her experience appears to be anything but an anomaly. A TikTok seek for “gel nail allergy” shows that individuals have been posting about similar concerns for years, and it’s even resulted in urgent care visits for some.

As awareness spreads, it’s sparked a broader discussion, investigating the origins of those allergies and, crucially, ways to forestall such reactions. It’s also illuminated a very important distinction: Though Gel-X has colloquially grow to be an umbrella term for gel nail extensions — and subsequently lots of these videos are said to point out a “Gel-X allergy” the brand and its products aren’t the one reason for all these response. Reasonably — as we’ll explore shortly — gel nail allergies develop in response to specific chemicals present in quite a few nail products. And, for some, there will likely be ways to avoid ever having an allergic response in the primary place.

To know the intricacies of gel nail allergies, we want to dive headfirst into some chemistry. (No need for panic; this would possibly not resemble the mundane lectures out of your highschool or college days.) For expert insight, we spoke with three dermatologists, two cosmetic chemists, and a research manager within the nail industry.

Meet the experts:
  • Eunice Park is the research and development manager at After Nailthe brand that founded Gel-X Suggestions.
  • Mazz Hanna is a nail artist and the CEO of Nailing Hollywood.
  • Gloria LinMD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC.
  • Hadley KingMD, is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology.
  • Dana SternMD, is a board-certified dermatologist and founding father of the nail-care brand Dr. Dana.
  • Vivian ValentyPhD, is an Arizona-based organic chemist and inventor of Dazzle Dry.
  • Karan LalMD, is a board-certified dermatologist and the director of cosmetic dermatology at Affiliated Dermatology in Scottsdale, Arizona.

On this story:

Gel vs. Gel-X: What’s the difference?

The fundamental difference between traditional gel polish and Gel-X (apart from the undeniable fact that Gel-X is a brand name product, while gel polish is a general category of nail product) lies of their purpose and application. “A gel manicure uses gel polish, which is in its liquid form until it’s cured (hardened) under UV/LED light,” explains Mazz Hanna, a nail artist and the CEO of Nailing Hollywood. Conversely, Gel-X and all other gel extensions are pre-hardened before application but require a second curing process to fuse them onto your nails.

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