Signs You Might Be Allergic To Your Routine Manicure

A good manicure can brighten a humdrum day and be a major mood boost. Besides having a half hour or more to yourself to enjoy being taken care of, the welcoming hand massage followed by the delightful moisturizing can be rejuvenating. That's all in addition to the awesome new look on your nails.

Yet, sometimes after a manicure, you can experience irritation around your nails. Your first thought may be infection, which is always a concern. Between nail salons using the same soak container and manicure tools and cuticles often being cut or simply pushed back, it can be a recipe that invites bacteria into the skin. Consequently, salons should always be properly vetted for safe sterilization techniques.

However, it's not only infection that can irritate. It's also possible to be allergic to your manicure. While there are obvious signs, there are also a few hidden ones that may surprise you.

Itchy and irritated nailbeds

Like with many allergies, after a manicure, one of the first signs of an allergy to nail polish or the nails themselves is itching. Your cuticle area may also look swollen and red. 

One cause of allergies after manicures is the methacrylate found in acrylics, as well as nail adhesives. What's even more confusing is that you may also be allergic to a host of other ingredients that come into contact with your nails during a manicure. Other allergens found in nail polish are free formaldehyde, toluene, and acrylates.

On the other hand, you also may experience no itch at all, but the cuticle area may still be puffy and irritated. You may also notice that your nails, and specifically the area underneath, feel very warm. This type of allergy often stems from using uncured gel polish, per Hooked On Nails. It's possible to have used the same ingredients in your regular manicure and experience an allergic reaction to them, even if you haven't before.

Facial rash and eyelid swelling

Besides your nails being affected, any skin that is exposed to the ingredients in the products on your nails that are causing an allergy can also irritate the skin. You may experience a rash on the face, eyes, chin, and neck, places we often unconsciously touch several times a day. Oddly enough, you may also sneeze and have a runny nose.

"The rash can occur wherever the chemical allergen comes into contact with the skin," dermatologist Hadley King tells Allure. "Because we inadvertently touch our eye area multiple times during an average day, and because the skin in this area is thin and sensitive, skin allergies to nail products often show up in the eye area."

Typically, the allergy will lessen and then gradually go away once the product is removed. If it doesn't or if the itch becomes unbearable, a dermatologist can prescribe a steroid cream or even an injection. For mild cases, dabbing some hydrocortisone on the area and taking an over-the-counter antihistamine will do the trick.