Trends in nail services may cause dermatitis: not your mother's nail polish

Cutis. 2019 Jun;103(6):315-317.


The advent of acrylate-based nail treatments-known as gels, dips, or shellac-has resulted in an uptick in nail-related acrylate allergy. Acrylate dermatitis related to nail services can affect both clients and technicians and can present on the hands, fingers, and wrists, as well as on the face and neck. Nail acrylate allergy occurs from sensitization to acrylate monomers; 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA), 2-hydroxypropyl methacrylate, ethyl cyanoacrylate, and others have been identified as relevant allergens. Patch testing with HEMA and ethyl cyanoacrylate can screen for nail acrylate allergy. Avoidance is key, and we recommend less-permanent, acrylate-free nail polishes as alternatives.

MeSH terms

  • Acrylates / adverse effects*
  • Acrylates / immunology
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / immunology
  • Hand Dermatoses / diagnosis
  • Hand Dermatoses / etiology*
  • Hand Dermatoses / immunology
  • Humans
  • Nails*
  • Patch Tests


  • Acrylates
  • Allergens