Helen Burton-Ward on allergy prevention

By Sophie Nutt | 10 April 2020 | Expert Advice, Feature

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Scratch Stars Natural Nail Specialist of the Year 2019 and CND™ education ambassador, Helen-Burton Ward, shares her advice to preventing allergies…

Allergies and overexposure are widespread issues within the industry. An allergy may develop as a response to the improper application or cure of a nail system, or sensitivity to certain products. As a nail professional, it is our responsibility to ensure we are using these products safely and correctly to minimise the risks.

Use a complete system
Any reputable manufacturer will have developed each nail system alongside prep products and a UV/LED lamp. Using the system as recommended by the manufacturer is essential to ensuring that risks are kept to a minimum – and deviating from this could invalidate your insurance.

Manufacturers spend huge amounts of time and money testing every product found within a system alongside one another to ensure that they work together safely and cohesively. The risk that you place on your client every time you mix brands does not only affect them, but it affects you and your business.

Use the lamp recommended by your manufacturer for your chosen system.

UV/LED lamps do not work equally and every lamp will reach its ‘peak’ differently; some rapidly, some more gradually. It is this rate of curing that has been calibrated to perfectly match the photo initiators found in your chosen brand of gel polish to ensure it reaches full cure.

UV products harden at 50% cured; so it is not possible for any professional to know when a product is fully cured just on sight alone. This is where allergies come into play, as if you are using a genetic lamp that, unbeknown to you, is under-curing your gel polish, every time you apply that product, you are overexposing your client to it.

Even if, when applying product, it doesn’t touch the skin, you can’t guarantee that when it comes to removal the acetone isn’t going to flood the uncured product into the proximal nail fold, sidewalls and skin. The removal of under-cured nail products nail products poses as much of a, if not greater, risk of overexposure.

Work cleanly
You may not realise, but it’s likely that you have picked up some bad habits in your time as a nail professional. Here are some common mistakes that are easy to fix:

  • DO NOT apply cuticle removers with your fingers.
  • DO use a cuticle pusher or equivalent to gently work the product over the nail plate.
  • DO NOT wipe excess product off using your fingers.
  • DO wipe it off using a lint-free pad or brush.


Follow Helen’s natural nail care advice in her columns in Scratch magazine throughout 2020 and follow her nail journey on Instagram.