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Healthy Nails: 101

 by Amber Edwards
Amber EdwardsWoman today are more health conscious than ever before. They eat better. They exercise. They take all of the right herbs. Sadly, they don’t focus the same attention on their fingernails. This can cause some serious health problems.

Before getting your nails done, you need to assess the salon you’re patronizing. Ask yourself:


·           Do the technicians wear masks?

·           Does the salon have a strong-almost-sweet pungent odor?

·           Do the products they are using have visible manufacturer’s labels?

·           Lastly, does that set of nails cost you around $20-$27?


If you’ve answered yes to these questions, run, Forrest, run! These are signs that the salon is using less-than-high quality products that can potentially endanger your health.


Salon growth has mushroomed in the past 10 years. Unfortunately, the first area where many salons cut costs to stay competitive is in the products that they use. The options are slim when you are talking about acrylic nail products. Most products hover around the same price, so there wasn’t much of an option. That is when the chemical MMA came back to rear its ugly head. Products made with MMA are one-fourth of the price of products without MMA.


In the early ’70s, nail technicians used a dental acrylic also known as “Porcelain Nails” that contains MMA “Methyl Mathacrylate.” It was safe to use on teeth because it was cured prior to application.   On nails, it was a different story due to the application process. MMA is made up of a small molecular structure that makes it easy to absorb into unbroken skin. It can cause irreversible damage to the nail matrix and further absorb into the bloodstream and urine were it is stored.


Once MMA is absorbed, it can cause serious side effects--some even irreversible. The side effects are liver damage, kidney problems, depression of the central nervous system, blood disease and permanent nail damage. These side effects are very scary.


By the mid to late ’70s, the FDA finally stepped in and put MMA on the poisonous and deleterious list of substances. Manufacturers were warned against the use of MMA. Some states actually have banned the use of MMA;, hopefully more states will follow.


Reputable manufacturers now use EMA, which has a larger molecular structure that makes it unable to absorb into the skin. EMA works the same, but with safer results. As long as there are salons willing to purchase it, there will still be shady manufacturers that continue to formulate MMA .You as the consumer need to be aware of the dangers that could arise from getting that cheap set of nails. Remember, getting a set of nails should not be painful or uncomfortable. It isn’t worth a health risk. Pass the word to all of the woman you know that get their nails done, too. You could be saving someone’s life! You can have beautiful, safe nails for the rest of your life with no side effects or problems if you know what you’re looking for.


About the author: Licensed nail technician, licensed nail technology teacher and certified national educator Amber Edwards has been working in the nail industry for the past 18 years, testing products, teaching products and working in product research and development.

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