Q&A

What kind of nail services are safe to do on pregnant women?

Q.

I work for a medspa and some of the techs are concerned about nail treatments for pregnant women. We offer gel-polish and traditional nail polish manicures and pedicures — no acrylics or gels are done at the spa. What kind of nail services are safe to do on pregnant women? What about the acetone used to soak off gel-polish?

A.

All nail services are safe for women who become pregnant, as long as these salon services are properly performed and all manufacturers’ instructions are heeded. This includes wearing any type of artificial nail enhancement, UV manicure or traditional nail polish, as well as the use of solvents such as acetone and ethyl acetate. Clients’ inhalation exposure during a twice monthly service is miniscule compared to the maximum safe levels of exposure. Also, the ingredients in these products do not penetrate the skin to any significant degree, so clients need not be concerned because they are pregnant. It is also safe for pregnant nail technicians to work in a nail salon. Of course, pregnant nail technicians who don’t already work safely will need to make changes in their work routines. In other words, pay close attention to and follow the rules of working safely once you learn about your pregnancy. This will be true regardless of your occupation. You can learn more about working safely with nail products at probeauty.org/NMC and in my book, Nail Structure & Product Chemistry, second edition, from Cengage Learning.

It is also important for the mother-to-be to consult with and follow the advice of a qualified medical doctor. To be on the safe side, clients can show the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all your professional products to their doctor. A well-informed physician will usually advise avoiding alcohol and tobacco since these contain substances known to cause abnormal fetal development, but they are unlikely to be concerned about the use of nail products. That’s because there are NO such ingredients in nail products and Internet reports claiming otherwise are exaggerated distortions that are not supported by the facts or real-world evidence. In short, nail products are not harmful to use or wear during pregnancy.

— Doug Schoon is chief scientific advisor for CND.

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