Gel Nail Polish Allergy, Causes and Options

Gel Nail Polish Allergy, Causes and Options

Gel Nail Polish Allergy, Causes and Options

A question regarding gel nail polish allergy was once again asked recently, but more specifically, if formaldehyde is the culprit. Today we examine the ingredients in gel nail polish and acrylic nails.

Whoop, whoop, happy Hump Day hotties and Merry Christmas Eve! I am so excited to spend the holiday with my family and friends. I hope you all have a wonderfully beautiful next two days, but if you are alone, my family and I will pray for you.

Before I embarked on craziness I wanted to publish this Wednesday’s Q&A, which addresses a potential gel nail polish allergy. Tracy wanted to know if it was formaldehyde that caused the redness, swelling and itching after having a gel manicure.

I also have had a reaction to the gel polish. Today I got one pinkie done in gel, and the other in acrylic. By the end of the day, the gel nail was red, and beginning to swell, and itch. This had happened in the past so I stopped getting gel manicures. But now the acrylic seems to be ok. So, my question to you is, as I am not supposed to have acrylic at work, do you feel the allergy is caused by the formaldehyde?

My answer to Tracy regarding gel nail polish allergy was as follows.

Thanks for the email! It sounds like it could be a formaldehyde allergy. To be sure you should visit a doctor for an allergy test. There are formaldehyde-free gel brands. If you do your nails at home, LacQit is formaldehyde free, and salon options are available such as Haute, Brisa Gel Nails by CND, Nutra Nail Gel and Eco UV nail systems. The task is finding a nail salon with formaldehyde free options.

However, my answer wasn’t good enough for me, so I did a little more research. Formaldehyde is used in a variety of beauty products, but many are allergic to it. It is widely used in gel nail polish, although as mentioned above, there are formaldehyde free options. Be careful with the term free though. Free doesn’t necessarily mean completely absent. Some “free” products do contain traces of formaldehyde.

Acrylic also contains formaldehyde, however in lesser amounts. The main ingredient in acrylic nails is ethyl methacrylate monomer, which could also cause an adverse reaction. Read these guidelines from the FDA for more information. Fortunately the beauty business is catching up to health standards, providing improved alternatives.

It is always advisable to check with a doctor to determine if formaldehyde is the cause of a potential gel nail polish allergy or something else. If you have a question similar to today’s query, please email me at Until then, happy styling and a very Merry Christmas. The picture is courtesy of Seriously Nails. I seriously suggest following her.

©Deirdre Haggerty, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior written permission and consent from the author. 



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