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how to treat an allergic reaction to gel polish

How to treat an allergic reaction to gel polish

We love Gel polish and a lot of clients do too. It's versatile and long last and is the perfect material to work with to give clients a long-lasting and beautiful manicure. However, for some people, Gel polish can cause an allergic reaction. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe and include itching, redness, swelling, burning or stinging sensation on the skin around the nail. So what do you do if one of your clients experiences an allergic reaction? Keep reading to find out!

First up let's explore what gel nail polishes are they work. Gel nail polishes are formulated with a polymer, and when exposed to the special UV light that’s used to ‘cure’ the nails, this forms a hard layer over the nail. The reason it lasts so long and is so resistant to chipping or wearing away is because of the hard shell it creates. Polymer's are, of course, not natural products and like all synthetic materials some people can have an adverse reaction to them. 

The benefits of using gel polish are manifold. It’s incredibly durable and long-lasting, great for clients who don’t have time to redo their nails every few days. It also looks absolutely gorgeous when applied correctly.


However, there are some risks involved when using gel nail polish (especially if it is not Hema Free), and one of those risks is an allergic reaction. If one of your clients experiences a reaction to gel nail polish, it’s essential you take the correct steps to treat their symptoms and avoid any potential long-term effects.

Potential symptoms of an allergic reaction to gel nail polish

  • Redness and swelling of the skin around the nails
  • Itching and burning sensation
  • Blisters or hives on the skin around the nails
  • A stinging, tingling feeling in the area of application
  • In very severe cases an allergic reaction could also lead to a client experiencing difficulty in breathing

How to treat an allergic reaction to gel nail polish

In the very rare instance that your client experiences an allergic reaction to gel nail polish, here's what you need to do:

Remove the gel polish ASAP. To get rid of the gel polish, it's essential to act quickly. Start by soaking a cotton pad in acetone nail polish remover and placing it on the affected nail; then use an orange stick or cuticle pusher to carefully lift up the edges of the polish until fully removed. Repeat this process for each finger before you are left with no more gel polish on the nails.

Next, you need to clean the affected area. Cleanse the area with soap and water to minimise bacteria or other contaminants. Place a cool, damp cloth on the affected region as this will help ward off inflammation and pain. An antihistamine may be taken to alleviate any lingering symptoms; however, if they continue or become worse, consult your medical professional immediately.

They say prevention is better than cure. So why not ensure that your client will not have an allergic reaction in the first place? Here's how you do it:

Before you paint your nails, it's essential to patch-test the polish. Apply a small amount of the product on an inner wrist and wait 24-48 hours for any possible reactions. Additionally, don't forget to use a base coat before applying nail polish as this will provide extra protection against allergens or irritants. If your clients have been known to be sensitive towards certain products in the past, then try steering clear from gel polishes altogether. Finally, taking regular breaks between wearing gel polish can also help give skin and nails time off from harsh chemicals used in these formulas so that they may recover properly.

Opting for gel nail polish can be a perfect solution if you want to achieve lasting and beautiful nails with minimal effort, however, it's important to consider the potential allergic reactions that may be experienced by a customer before using this product. 

To Wrap Up

  • If you find yourself having an allergic reaction to gel nail polish, it is essential that the product be removed and the affected area treated without delay.
  • To minimise the chances of suffering an allergic reaction to gel nail polish, be sure to patch test and apply a base coat.
  • In conclusion, with the correct preparation and knowledge, you can make sure that your clients’ experience with gel nail polish is nothing but a success.
  • In case of an allergic reaction, always seek medical advice first. With the right treatment and precautions, you can help protect your clients from experiencing any potentially serious long-term effects.

Gel nail polish is a great product and it is being used more and more by professional nail technicians and at home. However, using gel polish shouldn't be attempted by the un-initiated. If you would like more information about our gel nail courses, head over to our training section here. And, of course, take a look at some Glitterbels Hema Free nail polishes

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