Castle Bromwich: 0121 7497000

The Attack of Gel Polish


Most of us have seen the recent news report about nail services and products causing extreme allergic reactions. At The Essentials we wanted to put your minds at ease that we have your health and well-being at the top of our priority list.

These reactions are occurring on the skin around the nail, the nail plate itself and underneath, plus reactions to the face.

Some reactions are happening to nail technicians that are being ‘overexposed’ to chemicals working with gels, acrylics and acetates every day for long periods of time. They need to wear appropriate PPE to help reduce this or look at the product they are using.

Other reactions have been happening to clients in salons and customers using products themselves at home.

The main reactions that have been reported are coming from Gel polish. This is applied the same as normal nail polish but is cured (set) in a UV or LED lamp. Then is is dry and solid when finished.  It will need to be either buffed and filed off or removed using an acetone solution to dissolve some of the structure and the polish should peel away from the nail plate.

The Gel polish that we use at The Essentials has always been CND Shellac since 2007 when it was launched. It is a soakable gel product with patented technology made by one of the biggest nail companies in the world.  Because the product has a patent on them there are no other gel polish products that are the same as Shellac. Shellac is a Gel polish but not all gel polishes are Shellac.

There could be a few reasons that these reactions are happening:

  1. Quality of the products being used
  2. Complementing products being used together.  For example, all products to be used from the same brand.
  3. The correct equipment is being used.

There is a chemical within some gel polish products called HEMA and can be damaging to the skin when it is exposed to it over and over.  There is a legal amount of HEMA that can be in a product safely in different countries.  Some products that may be imported in that may have higher levels than the UK legal level. This can cause problems when used over and over.

The maximum legal amount that we can use in the UK is 35%.  All the CND products that we use in the salon are less than 25% and 4 of the 6 products we use are under 5% or completely HEMA-free.

It is also safer when all the products being used complement each other, that’s base colour, top, liquids and lamp. Mix and matching can be dangerous as you can’t guarantee how the product will react and wear when it is mixed with other brands. So make sure the CND is on ALL the bottles and the Lamp itself.

This leads to the 3rd thing and maybe the most important.  You need to make sure that the lamp that you are using is compatible with the products that are being applied.  If the lamp is not compatible the product may not fully cure (set) during the process.  Even though it may feel set, the chemical may not have fully cured and the HEMA that may be in the product can leek out onto the skin.  The reactions happen when this is done over and over and the skin.

If you visit us regularly for your nail services then you know that we only use CND products and that the health and well-being of our clients is one of the most important things to us.

If you are doing your nails at home or you are using a different salon for your nail services, then please take this advice on board to make sure that your nails’ skin is protected.

If you have any more questions then please call us on 0121 7497000 or email