How to avoid an allergy

Remember that to become over exposed and develop an allergy, means that there has been prolonged and repetitive skin contact with uncured or under-cured nail product, or product dust. 

So taking steps to avoid skin contact is the #1 priority!

Nitrile gloves

Do wear nitrile gloves. These should conform to the EU Chemical Resistance specification EN 374-3 or higher. Or if in doubt select a glove that is at least 8mil / 0.19mm thick. Or double-glove with thinner gloves. Longer cuff gloves give more protection.

Dispose of the gloves after each client.

Barrier cream

As an extra layer of protection, consider wearing a skin barrier cream under the gloves and on your arms. This is NOT an alternative to wearing nitrile gloves. But as you probably use hand cream anyway, it makes sense to use a barrier cream, that will also help you to avoid eczema from frequent hand washing.

Use the correct UV lamp

According to the British Association of Dermatologists, the number of reported nail product allergies has reached epidemic levels. The #1 cause is using the wrong UV lamp for the gels and gel polishes, as this often causes under-cured gel dust.

Not all dust is visible. If you use an e-File, this also creates invisible dust that will float in the air. With each client this dust pollution increases in the salon. This invisible dust will land on any skin that is exposed, including the chest area, neck and face, and can cause a reaction in those areas.

Use hypoallergenic nail products

True hypoallergenic nail products (as opposed to simply HEMA-free), contain none of the main ingredients that are medically proven to cause allergies. There are very few hypoallergenic brands and many misleading claims. Europe's leading hypoallergenic nail product manufacturer is IKON.IQ Nails:



Keep the nail desk clean and free from dust and change the disposable towel after every clients. Otherwise it is too easy, especially in summer, to rest an bare arm on this dust and develop an allergic reaction there, like in the photo above.

If you wipe monomer in your brush onto a pad, be careful not to rest your arm in this. 


Avoid the skin surrounding the nail during application.

Wiping the inhibition (sticky) layer 

When wiping the gel or gel polish inhibition layer, start with the smallest finger and wipe from the cuticle to the free edge to avoid dragging the wiping liquid and dissolved uncured gel onto the clients skin. Wipe the remaining fingers of that hand from small to big. Then use a fresh pad to wipe the other hand and repeat this procedure.


  1. Visit a dermatologist. They will test which ingredient(s) you react to.
  2. Find products that don’t contain them (this group can help)
  3.  Change behaviour. Wear nitrile gloves at least 0.19mm thick or double-glove. Use one brand of gels/gel-polishes and use recommended UV lamp. Invest in an air filter system that contains HEPA dust filters and at least 1kg active carbon filter - cheaper that having to change career and having to dispose of all your nail products.


Allergies are preventable.

Allergic reactions only occur if there is skin contact or inhalation of un-cured or under-cured acrylate ingredients, or dust.