Tip Tuesday: Always wear protection

For today's Tip Tuesday, our head of education, Robyn McCarney wants to highlight the importance of always wearing protection.

Always wear your gloves! As a nail professional, you handle chemicals daily. While the risk of developing an allergy to a reputable gel, when applied and cured properly, is extremely low, as a nail technician, your exposure to various chemicals poses a higher risk of sensitivity or allergic reactions compared to your clients.

Contact dermatitis, often cited as the most common occupational skin disease by DermNet™, is a common issue for nail (and hair) professionals. It's vital to understand that allergic dermatitis can occur at any time, even if your body previously tolerated the allergen. Protecting yourself means safeguarding both your business and your income. Additionally, the consequences of dermatitis may extend beyond just topical reactions; if left unchecked, it could escalate to further allergic reactions, including reactions to airborne particles.

To minimize the risk of reactions, it's imperative to wear gloves throughout the entire treatment and change them after each client. For those with sensitive skin, applying a barrier cream as well can offer added protection. Following each treatment, washing your hands with a gentle cleanser and applying a moisturizing hand cream can help rehydrate your skin. We recommend nitrile gloves for nail professionals.

Although we will touch of gel nail allergies in a future Tip Tuesday, we do want to touch on it today. It's essential to refrain from using ungloved fingers to clean uncured gel around your client's nails. Instead, incorporate the habit of using a clear, dry brush dipped in a small amount of acetone or gel remover, or a cotton bud, to remove excess gel from your client's skin. Afterward, ensure your client washes their hands with warm, soapy water and reapply cuticle oil or balm to rehydrate the skin. Ensure when you’re opening gels or cleaning any spills, that you are always wearing gloves and wash your hands after. Allergies to gel are mostly caused by uncured gel remaining on the skin – minimising contact with the gel will significantly reduce risk of you developing an allergic reaction.

Above all, emphasize the importance of thorough handwashing for your clients post-treatment, regardless of whether any gel made contact with their skin. This simple practice can go a long way in maintaining their skin health and removing traces of solutions left on their skin.

If you suspect your (or your client) is reacting to solutions or gel, always contact your GP for a formal diagnosis. No nail brand or nail tech can diagnose any medical conditions and a doctor should always be contacted before continuing treatments (for both you & and your clients).

 Read more on Contact Dermatitis here