If you’re like many Canadian women, you probably enjoy treating yourself to nails for special occasions. Maybe you love them so much that you wear long nails all the time. Long nails are beautiful and sexy, right? Yes, but beware of the dangers of artificial nails. As the Canadian salon industry is not sufficiently regulated, some products and artificial nail techniques may be dangerous to your health.
Only three provinces have high standards for nail technician certification – Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This means that nail technicians in other Canadian provinces have mixed levels of training and education. Nails may look simple, but there are many important factors to be aware of to ensure safety. Nail techs need to learn about bacteriology and decontamination, first aid and artificial nail best practices. However, many young and inexperienced nail techs are using dangerous products and techniques.
Mom Susi Wermescher and her daughter Daniella Liebherr are co-owners of Beauty At Your Door, a mobile spa service in the west GTA. Originally from Germany, Susi and Daniella were trained to high international standards. After moving to Canada, Susi and Daniella have seen many questionable practices by other estheticians. Some former clients have had painful and unsightly experiences with other nail techs. Two of the biggest issues are dipping powder and MMA.
This is a drying agent which can cause serious fungal infections, which may result in nail or finger loss. Dip powder manicures, or powder manicures, are a popular beauty trend. A manicurist cleans your nails with an electric buffer, paints them with a clear adhesive, then dips each nail into a jar of finely grated pigmented powder. Usually, nails are dipped two or three times before being finished with a clear, quick-dry coat. This process makes the colour last longer. Technicians should be using an individual, clean jar of powder for each client. Any leftover powder must be disposed. If several people dip their nails in the same jar, germs can multiply and spread. The bottom line – avoid dipping powder.
Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is a bonding agent used in artificial nail products. MMA has been banned in the nail industry for over 20 years but is still being used because it is cheap. This smelly, toxic chemical sets much faster than other products, and strongly adheres to your nails. MMA has been associated with adverse health effects. MMA-based acrylic nails will be tough, inflexible and difficult to remove. The long list of health risks includes irritation of eyes, nose, throat, respiratory tract, drowsiness, light-headedness, dizzy spells, trembling of hands, skin redness, itching, rash, swelling of fingers, infections, nail loss, infertility and cancer. Pretty scary stuff! Be sure that your nail tech does not use MMA. If you’re unsure, ask. Red flags: If the price is too good to be true, they use drills, your tech doesn’t speak English, and a strong smell.