Risks of Improperly Curing Nail Coatings

Recently, I recommended to a group of nail professionals that they should NOT try every new nail product that comes along, especially if it is a UV cure nail coating product.  Nail professionals are better off focusing on only a few different systems, (or even just one) and specializing in the proper and correct use of that system(s); including the proper use of the UV nail lamp unit that is specifically designed to cure their system(s) of choice. Many nail technicians want to use any nail lamp unit to cure any UV gel they use and wonder what’s the harm in that?


Improper curing of a nail coating becomes more likely when the incorrect nail lamp unit is used. If you’re interested in the reasons for this, see my free webinar on this subject at http://tinyurl.com/nwvejfz.  When nail coatings are improperly cured, the risk of allergic sensitivity for both the nail professional and her clients increases. I’ve spent more than 20 years researching why some nail technicians and clients develop adverse skin reactions, while others using the same products do not develop such issues. My research has identified several key factors that can increase the potential for developing adverse skin reactions and I talk about these factors in my book and many articles which are available at DougSchoon.com.  There are many non-product related articles and webinars on my website that explain how and why adverse skin reactions occur, as well as how to avoid them.


Adverse skin reactions to nail products often seem to just “appear”, but in actuality they take time to develop, usually months, sometimes years.  They are almost always a result of prolonged and/or repeated skin contact.  This helps explain why prolonged or repeated skin contact with improperly cured UV gel products is a leading cause for adverse skin reactions for nail technicians.


Daily contact with filings/dusts from under cured nail coatings can lead to either skin irritation or allergic skin reactions.  The risks are real!  But it is important to know that these risks can be increased or greatly decreased; depending upon the choices the nail technician makes about product application, curing and removal. Fortunately, adverse skin reactions are easy to avoid.  One way is by ensuring the nail coatings are properly cured on a consistent basis.  This is accomplished by using the proper procedures and/or equipment needed to prevent “under curing”.  Just because a product hardens, doesn’t mean it is properly cured.  Artificial nail coatings will harden when they are only 50% cured.  This means a nail coating might be only halfway cured and the nail technician may mistakenly believe it is fully and properly cured.


Just as under curing can be related to skin sensitivities, over curing of products often causes discoloration, service breakdown and even onycholysis (nail plate separation from the nail bed).  Difficult or forceful removal of a nail coating often leads to natural nail surface damage. The surface white spots associated with UV gel manicures are almost always caused by improper removal of a nail coating as was described in my recent Educational Update http://tinyurl.com/qb2htel.  This is even more likely to occur when nail coating products are over cured, since over curing can make them more difficult to remove.  Onycholysis may occur when any type of nail coating becomes over heated and burns the sensitive tissue of the nail bed.  This can happen when using LED-style UV nail lamps to cure nail coating products designed to cure with traditional-style UV nail lamps.  Ouch!


Along with using the right lamp with the right UV gel system as directed by the manufacture, it is also important to understand and heed all warnings on the package label and Safety Data Sheets (aka MSDS).  For instance, products that are designed to be part of a “system”, should be used as a system and not mixed and matched with products not intended to be a part of the “system”.   The same is true for all liquid/powder systems.  You must properly use the monomer liquid of your choice with the correct polymer powder and at the proper ratio of liquid to powder.  Nail technicians should NOT make up their own powder blends or alter the ratios if they expect the product to properly and safely perform. There is no such thing as a “universal liquid” or powder that works with “any liquid” nor is there a nail lamp that works with all UV gels, not when proper curing and safety is the goal!  There are plenty of people out there who just want to sell their UV nail lamps (or powders) and will often tell nail technicians things that have no basis in facts.  My advice is to save your money and invest in the correct nail lamp that was specifically designed for the system(s) of your choice.  Don’t buy a product unless you intend to properly cure it.  Ensuring proper cure is one of a nail professional’s most important responsibilities. If you would like more information on how to properly cure nail products, please check out the articles my website, DougSchoon.com.


Happy Curing!