Is It Possible To Be Allergic To Acrylic Nails?

Whether you aren't satisfied with the look of your natural nails or you just want to feel a little glam, acrylic nails may be the perfect solution. Not only do they give you length, but the options are limitless when it comes to color and design. This type of artificial nail is also known for its strength and durability, meaning there is less chance of breakage. Before you run to the nail salon, though, it helps to know what to expect once you sit down with your technician. There are pros and cons to acrylic nails, and you might experience a drawback if you develop an allergic reaction.

Understanding the basics of acrylic nails — as well as the other types of artificial nails that are now widely available — can help you determine if they're right for you. Doug Schoon, a scientific consultant who works in the beauty industry, explains to Vox that acrylics get their strength from chemical reactions. "Gels and [liquid and powder acrylics] build net-like structures that are much more durable and stronger," Schoon told Vox.

Because of the long lifespan of acrylic nails, many people are tempted to wear them for extended periods. As Easy Nail Tech explains, acrylics can be worn for up to two months if they are filled every couple of weeks. However, this might not be an option for you, especially if you suspect that you may be experiencing an allergic reaction after leaving the salon.

Identifying acrylic nail allergy causes

While it may sound unusual, it is possible to develop an allergic reaction as a result of applying acrylic nails. The Occupational Dermatology Research and Education Centre notes that it has seen cases of allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) associated with the chemicals used in acrylics. Furthermore, according to StatPearls, ACD is a delayed-type hypersensitivity response that occurs when your skin comes into contact with an irritant. Products that can cause ACD include hair dye, sunscreen, and fragrances.

Some of the common ingredients found in nail products that can trigger an allergic reaction include dibutyl phthalate (DBT), toluene, camphor, and formic aldehyde, according to iGel Beauty. It is also not unusual to find ingredients like gluten, xylene, and parabens in nail polish itself, per FashionWeekOnline.

If you notice itchiness or see your fingers turn pink or red upon coming into contact with nail products, iGel Beauty recommends letting your technician know immediately. Afterward, contact your doctor or an allergist to gain more insight into the cause of your discomfort. As Scratch Magazine explains, a doctor may also be able to perform a patch test on your skin to narrow down the causes of your allergic reaction. However, it's important to note that an allergy does not go away, as it is one of your body's immune system responses. If you find that one of the chemicals used in acrylic nails is the cause of your allergic reaction, you still have options when you want to go glam.

Alternatives to acrylic nails

If acrylic nails are not an option for you because of an allergy, you can still rock stunning nails on any day of the week. We Heart This recommends nail stickers or nail wraps, which have grown in popularity. In addition to not requiring any maintenance, they can be easily applied at home and removed without causing damage — or an allergic reaction.

Gel nail polish or extensions might be alternatives for you to consider, according to Easy Nail Tech. Some people prefer gel over acrylic nails because of their lighter feeling and more natural look. Best of all, they after often quicker to apply and can last just as long, meaning you won't have to sacrifice durability.

Finally, don't rule out the potential of press-on nails. As Easy Nail Tech explains, they may not last for weeks on end, but these nails can be just as glamorous when the moment calls for it. There are also several online vendors who sell custom-decorated press-on nails, meaning the sky is the limit. This type of artificial nail can be applied at home, meaning less money and time spent at the salon. If you're still recovering from an allergic reaction, iGel Beauty says it's best to follow your doctor's orders and avoid using nail products while you heal.