Applying and removing varnish, applying false nails and decorating are all practices that use dangerous chemical substances.
Vigilance is therefore required, both on the part of the profession and of the clientele.
Risks for prosthetists
Whether it is classic or semi-permanent varnish, false nails applied using gel or resin or even decoration, “nail art” exposes workers in the nail sector (mostly women ) to toxic substances and therefore health risks. Acrylic monomers, toluene, formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are all chemical combinations harmful to health present in glues, resins, solvents and varnishes used in the nail industry.
Exposure to these products can also take place via dust emitted during sanding or polishing of false nails. According to the National Research Institute for Occupational Safety (INRS) [*], this chemical cocktail can also cause allergic respiratory skin reactions, often “the origin of a large number of occupational diseases” that can even lead to work stoppage. Even more serious: “Certain substances found are chemical agents that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMRs) or suspected of being endocrine disruptors. »
Workers can also be contaminated by biological agents such as viruses, bacteria and other fungi when in contact with the hands of customers suffering from infections or fungal infections, for example.
Despite these worrying data, the INRS specifies that no training is currently officially required to carry out this activity. However, it seems more than necessary to train prosthetists and nail stylists in the prevention of risks related to their activity.
Nail art enthusiasts also concerned
The products used also expose nail salon customers to health risks in the nails and surrounding tissues. On the skin, it can range from simple redness to eczema or allergy and the natural nail can become infected up to mycosis. Even without reaching these extremes, the installation of false nails will in any case weaken the natural nails, especially before their maturity (around the age of 18). For these reasons, the National Health Agency (or ANSES) recommends avoiding these practices for vulnerable groups, pregnant women, young people and adolescents.
However, if, despite the risks, you absolutely want to have false nails, wear them for as short a time as possible and have them done by a professional in a specialized institute. If it is for a particular occasion (wedding, show…), the installation of capsules for only a few days can be a less risky alternative.
In any case, so that the beauty of the nails does not come at the expense of health, both professionals and customers must ensure that the products used in the nail salon comply with European regulations on cosmetics – an advice sheet is available on the website: https://www.inrs.fr/media.html? refINRS=ED%206355
[*] https://www.inrs.fr/metiers/commerce-service/ prothesie-ongulaire.htm
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