Whether you’re a woman who wants to maintain a glamorous appearance in everyday life, or you’re visiting the salon to add that touch of elegance before a big night out; you’ve probably indulged in a trip to the nail salon at least once in your life. Fake nails have become a staple accessory for anybody with an eye for fashion and beauty and have even slipped into the convenience market; appearing on the fingertips of women who simply don’t have time for the upkeep of natural nails. Nail salons are enjoying more and more visits every day, so it’s vital that they’re a safe, clean, and healthy environment. For the most part, they are, but they’re not without their black spots.
What Are The Risks?
By its very nature, health and beauty salons will be stocked with man-made chemicals and materials. The most frequently used chemical in nail salons is the adhesive which binds artificial nails to the fingertips of its clients. Whilst banned in North America and Australia, Europe hasn’t taken a stance against the use of Methyl Methacrylate (MMA.) Methyl Methacrylate is used throughout Britain and Europe as the adhesive for affixing fake nails and has been widely explored and denounced as a dangerous and toxic chemical.
MMA is a colorless liquid that is made up of methacrylic acid is a colorless liquid with an unpleasant chemical scent. The lack of regulation exercised over nail salons means that even though there is evidence of its danger, there are no rules to outlaw the use of it. The risks are not only to the client’s nails themselves but also to the skin of both client and therapist and respiratory problems of the therapists who inhale the chemical for prolonged intervals.
Being such an effective adhesive, it is incredibly difficult to remove. It isn’t possible to remove the product through dissolving or treatment of other chemicals. To remove MMA from a natural nail it often has to be physically pulled off, which leads to stress on the skin and muscles on the fingers. When natural nails are caught on surfaces they will either snap or bend at the breaking point, but the application of MMA makes nails incredible strong and increases the likelihood of the entire nail being ripped from the bed of skin that it’s attached to.
Most people are aware of the risks involved in self-tanning through sunbeds. Sunbeds utilize a strong ultraviolet tan to provide a rapid tanning process, achievable in just an hour or two rather than a week in the sun. Those who use this quick-fix method are giving themselves a much higher risk of skin cancer, but very few people consider that the same bulbs are used to ‘set’ chemicals used in nail salons.
When false nails have been applied, smaller versions of these UV lamps are used to dry and set the adhesive; again providing a quick fix process but again increasing the risk of illness. There have been a few isolated incidents of women developing tumors on the skin on their hands and fingers, which have been speculatively linked to prolonged exposure to UV lamps.