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How to Avoid Contact Dermatitis

by Holly Schippers | September 26, 2019
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How can you avoid contact dermatitis in a nail service as a professional or as the client? Let’s take a look at this from both perspectives:

As a client you want to avoid contact dermatitis so that you can continue to get nail services. Once a reaction occurs, chances are good it will continue to occur on contact with products containing similar ingredients. The key is prevention.

Nail coatings belong on your fingers, not your skin. When you get your nails done by a professional, expect that the brushes with product on them should rarely be coming into contact with your skin; this includes polish and gel-polish. Everyone is human, and they will accidentally touch your skin on occasion; the time to be concerned is when the brush is constantly on your skin — every finger, every time. This is an indication of a need for education and practice. If your nail professional does not talk about going to classes, you might consider finding someone with a more advanced skill level.

Product is intended to be applied neatly, so be wary of someone that slops on too much product quickly in a mess, then uses a brush with more product to clean up your skin instead of applying the product with precision in the first place. The service can be done just as quickly by a skilled professional without the need for all the extra clean up, and the appearance of speed shouldn’t be what you base your service choice on, especially if it could lead to a lifetime of skin issues.

If you are wearing an enhancement of some sort, again it should be applied neatly with the brushes avoiding your skin. There should not be liquid running onto your skin, brushed onto your skin, or product against your skin. Overexposure is what leads to contact dermatitis. An accidental contact now and then is normal, but constant contact is unnecessary. Look for someone that has had enough education or is in the process of taking classes to be in control of their product.

As a nail professional you want to avoid contact dermatitis because it can bring the end to your career, or at least significantly debilitate it. This is completely avoidable with some precautions in the salon that you can embrace as soon as you read this blog!

One simple solution is to wear gloves. This will keep you from overexposing yourself to the entire range of your products by accident in many ways. It does not protect your arms, only your hands, so you will need to take some steps to avoid contact with your hands. Just in case you are not going to wear gloves, let’s look at some additional options as well.

Plastic backed polish remover pads are a great solution for polish remover, nail cleanser, and callus smoothing product. They tend to have tabs you can hold on to and a plastic backing that keeps the product from touching your skin in addition to holding the product more effectively than other mediums that allow quick evaporation.  The higher cost can be balanced by using less of them per person, needing less product per person since it is not evaporating or soaking into your skin, as well as the fact it is preventing overexposure.

If you do an enhancement service that requires any kind of brush wiping on a pad or on the table, keep your arms and hands off the pad. This seems simple, yet you would be surprised how many do it without thinking.  Apply the product, then remove what you were wiping on from the table so you don’t accidentally rest your arm or hand on it while filing.

If you are doing liquid and powder, make sure you have taken a class with the manufacturer of the product you choose to use and that you are usually getting the correct mix ratio. Making sure to use a liquid and powder from the same company, while also getting the mix ratio correct, ensures that the product is most likely to be fully polymerized. When the produced is fully polymerized, it is completely cured. This means when the client returns for a maintenance service and you do a lot of filing, you are not covering your skin or the clients with uncured product dust that could lead to overexposure resulting in contact dermatitis.

Should you be offering gel enhancements, it is important that you are using the right lamp with your gel to ensure that the gel is properly cured. If the gel is not properly cured, even though it seems visually hardened, filing it will create dust that contains some gel that isn’t completely cured and could lead to overexposure with repeated contact. It is most likely to affect you as the nail professional since you will be contacted by the dust from multiple clients throughout multiple days each week.

These simple things will all eliminate contact dermatitis in the salon due to nail services. Please feel free to share this blog with friends! Knowledge is power. #fingernailfixer

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