The Symptoms of a Gel Nail Polish Allergy

If you suspect a gel manicure allergy, King suggests removing the polish immediately and treating the skin with an over-the-counter cortisone cream. If the rash doesn’t begin to improve in a week or two, see a dermatologist.

Clayton hasn’t polished her nails, with gel polish or otherwise, since her ordeal, but dermatologists tell me that she and other allergy sufferers can likely do so with the proper polish. In fact, more nail polish brands than ever have eliminated methyl acrylate and other potential irritants. Shari Sperling, a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey, recommends her clients skip gel formula polish entirely and opt for five-, seven-, or nine-free formulas in traditional nail varnish. “Those types do not contain the most common allergens, and can be used be individuals who are allergic to other nail polishes,” says Sperling. 

But even some “clean” formulas do include methyl acrylate, so it’s important to do your research and read ingredient lists first. (We like the offerings from Olive & June, sundays, and Sally Hansen Good. Kind. Pure.) For that super-shiny gel finish, Amy Ling Lin, founder of nail-care brand sundays, suggests choosing a protective top coat from a brand that doesn’t include these allergens in its formulas. 

If you want to be extra certain that a clean nail polish formula will work for you, visit an allergist for a patch test first. No matter what your allergy, there’s a solution that will allow you to protect your skin and ‘gram your nail art. We promise.

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