Acrylic Nails

The Help Desk Answers Your Technical Questions

Our panelists this month discuss choosing the best brush for the job, the difference betwee\n MMA and methacrylic acid, and whether yellowed nails can be whitened with chemicals. 

I know some techs use more than one brushes should be used to create the most natural set of nails - square, round, oval, etc.?

Shari Finger: The size and shape of the brush really depends on the product you’re using and your personal preference. The key to the right brush is how much monomer it will hold. It should hold enough to release a small amount each time you pat the acrylic. When creating smile lines, you need a brush that is slightly pointed, and the hair of the brush should be still enough to manipulate the acrylic without pending or giving too much.

You may want to try a smaller brush when working with slow-setting acrylic so less monomer is held in the brush. If you use a larger brush, you may find the acrylic is too runny and you’ll waste a lot of time continually moving the acrylic back into position after it runs down the form, off the tip, or into the cuticle because it’s too wet.

Kristina Baune: I like to choose my brush according to the length of the nail rather than the shape. For short to medium short nails, I prefer to use a round brush with a tapered to use a round brush with a tapered tip that allows for smaller bead. For average to medium long nails, I use a larger, round brush with an oval tip, which gives smooth, even coverage. Extra-long nails require larger beads, so I use a full-bodied brush with a tapered tip. There are no hard and fast rules. It’s a matter of your personal preference and your product’s mix ratio.

Is there a difference between “methacrylic acid” and “methyl methacrylate”? I know MMA is the liquid acrylic, but the other is used in primers.

Doug Schoon: there is a big difference between these two ingredients. First, they are completely difference chemicals. Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is the monomer that has been prohibited by the FDA since the 1970’s even though it is still used in some salons. Methacrylic acid (MAA) is used as a nail primer. MMA is corrosive to living skin and should be used carefully to avoid all skin contact. Corrosive substances can cause injury to skin. They should always be kept out the reach of children, many of whom have been burned in the home due to careless storage of this professional product.

How can you treat a thick layer of skin growing out from under the nail tip? What is causing this and should the skin be cut? Should I remove the extensions?

Dr. Abrams: Many different kinds of skin growths can peek out from under the edge of the nail plate. These include warts that thicken skin, tumors (both cancerous and benign), scar tissue caused by an injury (keloids), and bony growths under the nail. Cutting this extra skin is not a good idea. This skin also tends to bleed easily. I recommend that you encourage your client to see a dermatologist to evaluate the nature of the growth.

I have a problem with crystallization. I’ve been using the same product for three years. Even with a monomer warmer, I can’t stop the acrylic looking frosty.

Baune: True crystallization is a freezing of the monomer before it polymerizes and it’s a term that is often misused. More than likely what is happening is “frosting” caused by rapid evaporation. The monomer evaporates leaving behind the powder particles. This can be caused by several factors. You’ll have to do some experimenting to figure out which is the culprit in your case. Here are possible causes:

l  Warm or cold drafts. Move away from open doors, vents, fans, etc.

l  Incorrect mix ratio. Too wet encourages rapid evaporation; too dry means too much powder on the surface.

l  Lighting. A bulb with too high wattage encourages rapid evaporation.

l  Monomer warmers. Heat can cause rapid evaporation.

l  Product applied too thin in combination with other factors that encourage rapid evaporation.

l  Seasonal changes. Changes in temperature and humidity affect mix ratio.

Can bleach or peroxide be used to written yellowed nail plates? If not, what can be used?

Schoon: If the nail plate is stained on the surface, a light buffing will remove it. However, if the discoloration is through the layers of the plate, it will be more difficult to remove. Bleach is not safe for soaking nails, since bleach is corrosive and and damaging to skin and soft tissue. Peroxide is not as corrosive, but the nails and skin should not be exposed to high concentration or for extended periods, so neither is a good solution. Anything powerful enough to decolorize the nail plate is likely to decolorize the skin and may also cause serious irritation, as well. 

Keywords:   crystal files     nail shapes     yellow nail syndrome     yellowing  

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