iGel Academy

The Ultimate Guide to Nail Allergies

You just finished your nail art design, and it looks stunning. You have poured your heart and soul into creating a masterpiece, and it took you weeks or months of practice. You can't wait to show it off to the world! 

But alas! Something unexpected happens, your fingers start to feel intensely itchy, blisters are forming around the skin, and there's redness in your eyes or other parts of your body. You just developed a nail polish allergy. 

It's a complete nightmare for every nail art enthusiast or nail tech since having a nail allergy means they have to say goodbye to the 60% sale of iGel Beauty or stop practicing nail art designs while they're still recovering. Don't worry; in this blog, we'll help you navigate the nail allergy dilemma and lessen the stress it'll have on you; read on to find out more.


What are the common types of Nail Allergies?

If you already have skin diseases like eczema or psoriasis, it can be hard to be a nail tech or a nail enthusiast since it can easily trigger your allergies. Here are the common nail allergies that you can get from using nail products daily.

Consult a doctor, whether an allergist or a dermatologist, if your nail allergy is causing you significant discomfort immediately to get the proper treatment and diagnosis. 

  • Overexposure

Overexposure happens when you use nail products regularly and constantly have skin contact. Another factor to consider if you're repeatedly exposed to the nail product's ingredients for a prolonged period is when a specific chemical ingredient on nail polish or acrylic has triggered your allergy. You can read more about overexposure here.

  • Contact dermatitis

Another nail allergy you should know about is Contact dermatitis since it's when a nail product has skin contact, and you have an allergic reaction. The skin on your fingers will start to be irritated, you'll develop a rash on your body, and you'll begin to feel discomfort from the other symptoms of the allergic reaction. Read here to find out more about contact dermatitis.

  • Dip flu

Dip flu is another allergic reaction caused by dip powders commonly used by nail techs for applying acrylic nails or dip powder nails. It's whether you have inhaled or your skin gets in contact with the powders. You can read our blog about dip flu here.

  • Acrylate allergy

  • Another common allergy that nail techs have by using monomers or acrylic powders. Here’s a guide to the Acrylate allergy.


    What are the common ingredients in nail products that often cause Nail Allergy?

    • DBT
    • Toluene
    • Camphor
    • Formic Aldehyde
    • DBP
    • HEMA

    Most of these ingredients are allergens usually found in nail products and cosmetics, so we highly recommend you ask our iGel Beauty customer service for the MSDS sheets to know the components of a product you're planning to buy! We're just one chat away from you to help you out. After all, prevention is better than cure! You can read this guide about the mentioned nail ingredients above.


    What are the difference between nail allergies and skin irritation?

    An allergy doesn't happen overnight, whether a nail product or any beauty product that a person repeatedly uses for a long time. When the sensitization stage kicks in, since your body or skin is constantly exposed to the products' ingredients, skin or nail allergies start to happen.

    While irritation happens immediately, like when you apply gel or dip powder on your nails and place some on your skin, you will immediately feel the skin around your fingers turn itchy and red or pink.

    Others vary in their nail allergy symptoms since it depends on their type of allergy. Some people can use nail products and never have any allergic or skin irritation. In contrast, others have a cumulative allergy that happens over time from continuous usage of the nail products.

    It's best to stick to one nail products brand to avoid developing an allergy. Different brands use different chemical ingredients, and mixing them up can lead to an allergic reaction.


    How to deal with nail allergies?

    You realized you now have nail allergies. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you out. You need to stay calm and do these simple steps.


    Step 1: Remove the nail product immediately

    The first thing you have to do is remove the nail product as soon as possible to avoid the allergic reaction symptoms from worsening. You can wash your hands with antibacterial soap and remove the nail art design you're wearing, whether gel or acrylic. Remove them just like you would on a client. You can read our gel polish guide here and acrylic nails to know how to remove them.


    Step 2: Apply doctors prescribed steroid creams or drink antibiotics

    Once you have removed the nail art or nail products that have touched your skin, you can book an appointment with your doctor to get your allergy's proper treatment and diagnosis. One of the creams nail techs used is called Cortizone, but we highly recommend you seek a professional's opinion before treating your allergies. 

    If you happen to had allergies before because of gel or acrylic nails and know what to do, you can go ahead and use your prescribed treatments. Some would soak their fingers in a tub of ice-cold water to soothe the irritated skin and ease the symptoms.


    Step 3: Know the culprit

    You need to know what causes your allergy since it can help you in the future. Was it gel? Acrylic? Dip powders? Latex gloves? There are a lot of reasons why you developed an allergic reaction. 

    With the help of a doctor or by backtracking the last nail product you applied before you had an allergy can help you minimize the harsh effects you're already experiencing, so you would know what product to avoid.


    Step 4: Stop wearing nail products or practicing nail art designs

    Yes, the heartbreaking part comes from having a nail allergy and temporarily refraining from wearing or working with nail products. It's for the best since the allergic reaction will make it hard for you to use your fingers or hands in general for a while. Always follow the doctor's orders to ensure a speedy recovery from nail allergies!


    Step 5: Wait for your recovery

    Give your nails a break as you wait for your fingers to heal from the blisters, painful rash, and itchiness. Yes, it sounds terrible news for your nail career and business. 

    Surely, your clients will understand and want to see you fully recovered. If your nail allergy is not that bad or has recovered immediately, you can apply preventive measures not to trigger or worsen your nail allergy and get back to work.

    How to avoid nail allergy?

    • Always use hand gloves whenever you're doing your nails or a client's. Figure out if you're not allergic to latex gloves when doing so.
    • Keep your cuticles moisturized always
    • If you're a client, always tell your nail tech if you have an allergy so they can prepare in advance what products they should use on you.
    • Always wash your hands and practice through nail salon sanitation
    • Use nail products that you're familiar with only, or switch to allergen-free products.
    • Practice proper nail care
    • Avoid the nail products getting to your skin.
    • Practice your nail art designs using a nail training hand. You can read our blog about nail training hand here.
    • Before buying, always ask our customer service for the MSDS sheet, and always check the label of the nail products you're buying.
    • Clean your nail tools before and after using them. You can read our how to clean nail art tools here.
    • You can switch to other nail methods; if you're allergic to acrylic, you can try gels; if all else fails, the safest one seems to be DIY press-ons.
    • If you're a client, always go to a licensed or knowledgeable nail tech to do your nails.


    Having a nail allergy can be challenging, and nobody wants to go through it. Your dreams of becoming a nail tech or wearing dreamy nail art designs are not yet over.

    It all boils down to nail care and nail salon sanitation. You can learn more about the world of nails than just applying beautiful designs since there's a lot to unpack. Our iGel Beauty Facebook community will teach you plenty, and you'll meet other nail professionals too!