Good Morning America Goes the Scare Tactic Route

Well, we’ve got another scare tactic story in the national media on our hands. And this time I’m not up in arms about the story not having its facts straight. Rather, the story of a woman who had an admittedly bad experience is now overshadowing what was a nice run of good press the industry has had latterly about soak-off gels.
If you haven’t heard the story, Jane Ubell-Meyer went to a salon to get what she thought was a gel manicure. During the course of the service, the nail technician cut her with an electric file and then dipped the finger in a powder. She ended up with extreme pain and nerve damage.
Yes, it’s awful what happened to Ubell-Meyer. And yes, the nerve damage very well could have been caused by a cut in her skin and the nail product getting into her system, thus causing nerve damage. But the focus should NOT be on the fact that gel nails are bad or gel nails caused this problem.
In my opinion (I have not talked to or seen this client, nor have I talked to her doctors), if the problem stems from a visit to the nail salon, it would be due to technician error. Unskilled techs using electric files and nail technicians marketing something as a gel (in this case, glue and powder) that is actually not are the real problem here.
The warning signs they listed at the end of the piece were all good points to make. I think we’d make most of them ourselves. (Unmarked containers, skin is cut, or skin or nails hurt — these are all valid reasons not to go to a salon. Strong odor, sterilizes implements, gels soak off quickly — these are all a little more debatable for me. A lot of acrylics have a strong odor, disinfecting is required, not sterilizing, and traditional hard gels don’t necessarily soak off quickly.)
I guess I just wish the focus was a little less on “The Dangers of Fake Gel Manicures” and more on make sure you go to a good salon. I also wish they would have pointed out “what makes a good salon” rather than just pointing out the bad things to look out for. It’s always so negative when it comes to dealing with our industry. When the doctor doing liposuction out of his garage with a vacuum cleaner made the news, the story was on bad doctors, not the problems with liposuction. It should be the same with Ubell-Meyer’s case. The nail tech and/or salon should be blamed, and not gel nails or any nail service for that matter.
I think Pattie Yankee (who was just out here to do a cover for NAILS) did a good job on Good Morning America explaining what a gel service entails and pointing out that it was probably the technician’s fault.
Here are two good pieces I wish the consumer media would read:
1. What to Look for in a Nail Salon (from the INTA and NMC)
2. How to Choose a Quality Nail Salon (a little bit older, but still very useful)
The poor client is in constant pain and she’s had to see so many doctors with no real cure in sight, but let’s put the blame on the offending technician and salon, not the type of product (especially when it wasn’t even a gel to begin with).
— Hannah

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