There are several ways to do nails extension, the most common ones are gel and acrylic. Gel consist in applying a layer of a soft gel substance that is cured using UV or blue light (LED) which photo-initiate a polymerisation process. This is what transform a soft substance into a hard but flexible one.
A more cheaper option for the salon are acrylic extensions. The process to build up a fake nail consists in mixing a monomer liquid and a polymer powder that harden while being applied on the nail. In the nail industry there are two types of monomer liquid: MMA (Methyl Methacrylate) and EMA (Ethyl Methacrylate) based.
Before you start losing interest in this article let me tell you that MMA based monomer liquids are actually banned in some countries (like US; click here for additional info). After a great amount of injuries complaints including fingernail damage and deformity, nail infection, respiratory problems and allergic reactions the regulatory institutions of some countries decided to band the use of MMA base monomer for nail extension. So, if you like having nails extension I believe it will be worth for you to keep reading.
Going back to the explanation, when the reaction of mixing the monomer liquid and the polymer powder is completed the resulting substance (the nail extension) is quite stable and it has not side effects, but it highly licked that reminds of the monomer liquid staid in its original stage directly in contact with your nail or skin… and this is where you may get the side effects described before. The same happen if the nail extension is created with an EMA monomer liquid, but in that case even that remains may end up in contact with your body nor side effects have been detected.
You may be asking now: why a beauty salon may be using MMA rather than EMA monomer liquid?, Why MMA is not banned everywhere? Or How can I detect what salon are using MMA products?
Why salon may be using MMA rather than EMA?
This is an easy question: MMA based monomer liquid is about six times cheaper than EMA one. Those beauty salons that focus on quick profit may prefer this option.
Why MMA is not banned everywhere?
Well.. to start with the cosmetic industry does not have the same level of regulation that the pharmaceutical industry. Sometimes in cosmetics low concentration of drugs are used, but this usually stands out of regulation. Additionally, for the case of MMA, there are several uses that does not have side effects. For instance MMA is commonly used to build up prosthetics tooth but with the difference of nails, the process happen without having any contact with the body. By the time a tooth with MMA get in contact with your mouth it is already stable and safe. So, at the end of the day this is more about how the substance is used rather than if the substance is inadequate itself..
How can I detect what salon are using MMA products?
The polymer created when MMA is used does not glue on human nails really well. Because of that, when applying those products is needed a strong work to file down your nail so it is improved the adherence. This is usually done with nail drills. The resulting polymer is really strong and when removed again a nail drill is needed again.This practice is actually bad itself as it remove several layers of your nail. Please, take in consideration that not all salon that uses nail drills use MMA products, but definitely all those that use MMA products use nail drills or strong grain files. If on top of that you are paying about 10 to 15 euros for the manicure… well, answer yourself why is that cheap!!
If you fancy more information about this subject here a couple of links:
In Poland, my home country and from where I got my degree the use of acrylics extensions almost disappeared. It is not banned as acrylics polymers using EMA (not MMA) are a great options for nails reconstruction when broken by accident happen, but in general the bad reputation build up over the years push many salons to go away from this service. You should take into consideration that the beauty industry in Poland is highly regulated. In fact in order to be able to open a beauty salon there you need a bachelor degree only granted by universities and a constant inspection of beauty salons.
Consequently in UniqueYou we do not offer acrylic extension even that there is the option to use EMA monomer (which is totally safe). We believe that heavy work on the nail make it too weak when applied repeatedly. Only in the case of broken nails we may offer gel reconstruction or EMA acrylic nails. For the rest of the cases, no thank you.
In UniqueYou we want to be clear that safety is our first priority. This is why MMA acrylic is not part of our services.