Acrylic Nails

Trouble Shooter: Taking the Heat Off Clients’ Nails

If your clients experience a burning sensation during a nail service, chances are you’re preparing the nail improperly or applying the product incorrectly.

To find out the causes of the burning sensation that may occur during the artificial nail service and how to avoid them, NAILS sought out the advice of top educators. Keep in mind though, that you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Slow Down Gel Cure Cycle

“During the curing process, gel changes from its gel consistency to the cured material,” says Maria Kennedy, director of education for Light Concept Nails (East Hartford, Conn.). “When the molecules join together to form polymers, energy is released, which, in turn, creates heat,” she says. “The amount of heat the client feels depends on the thickness of the gel (the thicker it is, the more heat is produced), the sensitivity of the client, and the thinness of the natural nail,” says Kennedy.

Says Nancy Waspi, director of research and development for Pro Finish (Scottsdale, Ariz.), the key to reducing the burning sensation associated with gels is to slow down the curing process or use a dual curing gel, which has two activators to ensure complete curing. “Slowing down the curing process can be done chemically with a slower-curing gel, or mechanically by having the client take her hands in and out of the UV light,” says Waspi. The risk you run with having the client remove her hands, she says, is that her nails may not cure completely which can cause them to lift or peel. To minimize this risk, have the client cure her nails a second time.

Waspi also agrees with Kennedy that the thinner the application of the gel, the less heat the client will feel because there is less chemical activity taking place during the curing process.

Good Nail Prep Is a Must

Many times improper preparation of the nail for the wrap service causes a burning sensation, says Betty Romesberg, an educator for Alpha 9 (Van Nuys, Calif.), who is based in Akron, Ohio. For example, instead of gently using a fine-grit file to remove the natural shine from the nail surface, some technicians use too much pressure and end up removing layers of the natural nail, says Romesberg. “This can cause a burning sensation when applying the resin because you’ve irritated the nail bed and thinned it out,” she says.

Romesberg also says a burning sensation can occur as the result of improper application of the wrap product. If the resin is applied too thickly, a burning sensation may occur when you apply the catalyst (activator) because there are many more molecules releasing heat, she says. Most of time, though, says Romesberg, the sensation occurs because the technician applies the catalyst too close to the nail or she sprays it on the nail more than once. “It should be applied per the manufacturer’s instructions,” she advises.

“When the catalyst meets the resin, the properties of both components change, and that’s when the heat sensation may occur,” says Holly Bruhn, a nail technician at The Victorian 200 in Port Orchard, Wash., and an educator for Backscratchers (Sacramento, Calif.). The biggest cause for this, she says, is misuse of product by applying too much resin. Instead of curing a fine layer of product, the catalyst has to cure a thick layer, which can cause a heat sensation,” she says.

A burning sensation may also occur if you apply too much of the catalyst topically with a brush, or if the nail bed is injured, says Bruhn.


Primer’s a Culprit with Acrylics

Valarie Wood, national educator for Galaxy Nail Products (Corona, Calif.), says that misuse of primer used in the acrylic service can bring on a burning sensation.

“Many times, technicians don’t wait until the primer completely dries and will apply the liquid and powder over the wet primer, which can cause a chemical reaction. This results in a purplish hue on the nail as well as a burning sensation,” she says.

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