In response to the BBC news report to allergies within the nail industry – Friday 14th April, 2023.
We were saddened to see the reports on BBC, R2 and other media outlets regarding the state of our industry, yet it is very important to highlight the dangers of allergies, poor practices and gel product discrepancies and we will always continue to innovate, educate and elevate the nail professional.
As you know Lecenté is a trusted global nail brand with many, many years of history behind us. We constantly strive to provide users the very best products with ingredients that meet all relevant laws and cosmetic legislation worldwide. We consult with several chemists and have unique formulas that will not be found in other brands bottles, with manufacturing here in the UK and the EU.
We recently held a consultation with Trading Standards, with an unannounced visit to our Headquarters to review our processes and procedures. We requested to explore any additional measures we could make to ensure we could be the ‘best of the best’, to which, we are proud to say, they had no recommendations, and commended our practices and ethos.
We would like to offer our assurance on a few things;
We are here to support professional technicians, and will continue to go above and beyond providing unrivalled support
- Lecenté Create is a PROFESSIONAL ONLY gel system that users can only purchase from us once they have provided evidence of qualification or training
- We are a majority HEMA free brand, with a few products containing HEMA for those who still want/need it. These few products contain HEMA at a very low to minimal percentage, well below the recommended ‘safe limits’
- Lecenté is manufactured in the UK & EU working with chemists producing unique formulas which we bottle in house with full quality control procedures in place
- All 850+ Lecenté Products are compliant in labelling and all registered upon the CPNP (Cosmetic Product Notification Portal) and the OPSS (Office for Product Safety and Standards)
- All our products have extensive SDS sheets available and fully listed ingredients on the packaging – this is proof of quality and that it is fit for purpose.
- We follow ISO 9001/14001. This simply means our products are manufactured and produced to the highest standard
- We have a thorough, accredited, award winning, education programme for everybody wishing to learn as a beginner right through to conversion courses and one to one training
- We provide inclusive, exciting, skill building workshops, in person and online, to keep up with trends, new product launches and techniques. Ensuring every professional is ‘up-to-date’, these are non-brand specific classes and open to all
We would gently like to remind users of a couple of things…
- If using Create gel polish (or any gel polish) and you full remove the whole system every 2-4 weeks, you must NEVER use a nail file or e-file to ‘remove the shine’ from the natural nail surface. A white 240 grit sanding block is all you need and on return only remove the shine from the area of new nail growth (cuticle zone). The shine has already been removed on previous services, and by repeatedly going over the whole nail on each visit over a few months will result in microscopic holes in the nail plate that gel will penetrate deep inside and can inhibit proper cure and unfortunately will end up like those nails you see online.
- Create Builder, Fibre and Hard gels are a semi-permanent coating, designed to remain on the nail surface for a long period of time, Infilled/rebalanced every 2-3 weeks. These should only be removed quite literally ‘once in a blue moon’. As before, if you need to remove and reapply, only remove the shine in the new growth area, nowhere else. Gels need a healthy nail surface to sit upon.
- Use the Lecenté lamp with all Create gels. Not all lamps are created equally even if they look the same or say they are within a certain bandwidth. On correct application with Create gels we guarantee full and proper cure within our lamp. If you are not in a position of owning a Lecenté lamp, we do a free lamp deal usually twice a year, where we give them away free of charge (in conjunction with specified deal – T&C’s apply).
- NAIL GELS ARE FOR HEALTHY NAILS ONLY. If you get any product on the skin, remove immediately as this may lead to uncured product remaining. Any uncured gel will become an irritant if left on the skin. Regular and continuous contact with nail products will over time result in an irreversible allergy.
- Use the complete system from your brand even down to prep liquids, they are all formulated to work together.
- Always cleanse the inhibition layer at the end of a service, even on ‘No Wipe’ Formulas. Firmly cleanse down the nail, not back and forth otherwise any uncured product will unknowingly be transmitted to the surrounding skin, then penetrated deeper when applying the finishing nail oil.
- Education is the key to your success, safety, and longevity as a nail technician. All gel systems work differently, so does the education, it will save your working life. All brands are different, please do the education it’s money well spent.
- A nail service is a two-way relationship, you have produced your best work with the highest quality of products, your client must also respect their nails and your work. Aftercare is essential, educate your client thoroughly, ensuring they understand the process you have provided and how they too can avoid contributing to damage, irritations or even allergies by conditioning their nails and skin regularly with a high quality nail oil, not to pick off the coating – thinning the nail plate, and not to pick out from underneath the free edge in an attempt to ‘clean’ as this will irritate the nail seal beneath (hyponychium) and encourage it to separate
- Always perform a client consultation prior to any service being performed.
What is HEMA?
Hydroxyethyl Methacrylate (HEMA) – is a monomer that has been used for many years, in many nail products. It is an allergen but when used correctly and professionally, it is safe at or below the recommended percentage of 35%. HEMA is a chemical that provides strong adhesion hence its presence in nail products, you will also find it widely used in the medical industry such as dentistry. Due to it being a known allergen it became somewhat demonised, and at times used as a marketing agenda, despite its safe and wide usage for many years. Cheaper off the shelf brands sometimes contain very high levels of HEMA, providing the user with unrivalled adhesion with very little skill or good working practices. So with HEMA being seen as the main problem, the industry brands were forced to make a dramatic change and formulate/offer HEMA free products, and should you see requests daily in online forums, many posts will ask for recommendations of a HEMA free brand.
“HEMA does have a significantly higher potential to cause skin allergies. However, it ‘could’ be used safely. It’s not inherently dangerous. Yes, HEMA can cause problems for any nail technician that doesn’t work safely and/or doesn’t properly cure their products using the correct nail lamp- which can also can be unsafe. So, it can be a “telling” ingredient, as well.
Avoiding HEMA doesn’t mean you still won’t become allergic to something else. That’s why it is more important to learn about working safely, than it is to know what ingredients your using.” Doug Schoon, Internationally recognised Nail Scientist and Nail Knowledge Expert
What is IBOA?
Isobornyl Acrylate (IBOA) – is also a monomer that has also been used for many years in nail products. Again, It is an allergen but when used correctly and professionally is safe. Its purpose is to provide good hardness, but flexibility with impact resistance. It does have some adhesive properties and in a recent plight to undo the demonisation of HEMA, shifting the limelight to IBOA. Even labelling it the ‘Allergen of the Year’. Allergen of the Year is an annual award voted upon by the American Contact Dermatitis Society, you will find it listed on Wikipedia, where you see many everyday items such as gold in previous years. The source pulled information from a dermatologist report investigating the correlation of the chemical and diabetic patients. (IBOA is a component of the glue commonly used in many medical supplies and diabetes device components.) In conclusion, it is important to remember that nail products are for nails – not skin.
“IBOA like any other chemical found within a nail coating may cause skin sensitisation in its raw form, once polymerised it turns in to an inert polymer and poses almost zero risk to the wearer. There is almost zero risk of any adverse reactions provided the coating is applied by a qualified professional with the relevant training to the nail plate using the correct recommended light source” O.S, Independent UK Chemist
What makes a brand or product cosmetically compliant by law?
In order to be legal for sale in the United Kingdom, and therefore insurable for use in your business, ALL cosmetics must comply with the UK Cosmetics Regulation as well as EU Cosmetics Products Regulation.
There are several indicators to help you ascertain whether a cosmetic company is trustworthy, and one of those is by looking at their labelling. According to Regulation (EC) 1223/2009 on Cosmetic Products (and amended by the Product Safety and Metrology etc. (EU exit) Regulations 2019,) there are several things that MUST be on a product label, whether it be on the back of your bottles, containing box or accompanying leaflet.
- Name and address of responsible person
- Country of origin
- Nominal content at time of packaging
- PAO – Period after opening for use or date of minimum durability
- Precautionary information
- Batch number
- The function of the product
- List of ingredients
For a more in depth explanation of labelling please see our Blog Cosmetic Labelling Compliance.
It is required by government law that all manufacturers have an SDS for all products. An SDS should contain the following:
- What chemicals are contained within the product
- Emergency procedures
- Possible Routes of entry to the body
- How to store the product safely
- Whether the product is flammable
- Whether the chemicals have the potential to cause a physical hazard
- How to safely handle the products
- Exposure limits on the products
- If the product is hazardous
- Carcinogen hazards
- If the product reacts to any other chemicals
In July 2013, a new EU regulation came into force, which meant that every product classed as a cosmetic must be registered on the CPNP. CPNP is the Cosmetic Product Notification Portal. Nail enhancement products are classed as a cosmetic, which means they should be registered on the CPNP. Currently access to the CPNP is restricted to Manufacturers and other relevant government bodies and not available to nail techs/public. This is mainly due to patented formulations etc that are secret to the manufacturer.
- With new Brexit rulings not only does every product need to be registered with the CPNP for sale in the EU, but now must be equally registered in the UK. This process is done via the SCPN – Submit Cosmetic Product Notification where every single product is registered with the OPSS.
- OPSS – Office for Products Safety and Standards is the national regulator for all consumer products, except for vehicles, medicines, and food
- The OPSS was created in January 2018 to deliver consumer protection and to support business confidence, productivity, and growth. They regulate a wide range of products with a focus on their safety and integrity. Working with local, national, and international regulators, with consumer representatives and with businesses to deliver effective protections and to support compliance.
- This was introduced to ensure that only safe, tested, and compliant products are put on the market for sale. Any product that is not registered is deemed unsafe, as it would be impossible to know if illegal ingredients have been used, as there would be no information recorded.
And did you know…
For as long as we know glitter has always been a popular addition in the nail & beauty Industry, but it hasn’t always been of cosmetic grade. Prior to 2010 craft glitters were used to adorn nails across the globe. Many second-grade glitters contain bacteria, glass, dangerous metals & minerals and cardboard, and when using them with solvent based products like Gel Polish the colouring would bleed.
Many do not realise that it was in-fact our Director Maria Cientanni who had a desire for Safe, Cosmetically Compliant Glitter and helped bring it to market back in 2010. This was the birth of Lecenté you know and trust today. Also, to maintain the very high standards we uphold, all of our Glitters have SDS sheets and extensive product labelling, unlike many of the popular off the shelf glitters available. All of our glitters and pigments are 100% pure with all the colourants used also cosmetically approved.
If you are a Lecenté user and ever wondered why we do not have certain ‘trendy’ products or have been much later than others to release such products, there is a very good reason! Because of our high standards and full cosmetic compliancy, there are some on trend products that simply are not cosmetic grade or compliant. We try our very best to source or work with our chemists to produce such products but this does unfortunately take time and therefore results in us being ‘late to the party’, but you can be assured if we have not released certain trendy products there is a very good reason!
What does Hypoallergenic mean?
You will note in our above statement we have not used the term Hypoallergenic. We have used this term in previous years, and we always formulate our products with Hypoallergenic properties at the forefront. However, we have decided to refrain from using this marketing term. So why have we done this and what does Hypoallergenic really mean?
Hypoallergenic cosmetics are products that manufacturers or brands claim produce less or even no allergic reactions than other products or brands. Users will then assume that these products will be gentler to their skin, and therefore ‘safer’. However, there are no standards or laws that regulate the use of the term. “The term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean.” – FDA
Hypoallergenic claims give the impression that they guarantee a complete absence of risk of an allergic reaction, but this is not true. No brand or product can guarantee such claim and different individuals may react to different substances to different extents, and no manufacturer can guarantee that the user is following the recommended guidelines of use.
“ ‘Hypoallergenic’ is a marketing ploy. And yes, it is a meaningless term from the medical standpoint. Nearly all cosmetic ingredients can cause allergies to some degree. To be honest there are little amount of non-allergenic products that cannot cause any adverse reactions. For instance, if the product is made of components of the natural moisturizing factor. Or a product that is composed of inert synthetic components – silicones or petrolatum, and some others.” Vitaly Solomonoff – qualified dermatologist and cosmetic chemist and Nail Knowledge Expert.
With this all in mind, and to continue to be transparent, upholding factual, up to date practices we choose to no longer use such misleading terminology. Yet still promise to produce cosmetically compliant and safe products, with ethical ingredients and innovation.
Allergy vs. Irritation
Do you really know the difference between an irritation and an allergy? Unfortunately, they present themselves in exactly the same way, the only difference is an allergy is for life. An irritation when continuously irritated over a prolonged amount of time will become an allergy, so instead of instantly thinking the worst take a moment to process the situation and take the irritation as a warning. Skin irritation or contact irritant dermatitis results from contact with a substance known as the irritant, and we must remember that all nail products are irritants, designed for the healthy nails and not skin. When irritated inflammation and damage to the skin surface presents while the body’s own natural repair mechanisms naturally repair the skin. A skin irritation is usually limited to the specific site of direct contact, whereas an allergic reaction can cause symptoms to appear in different areas all over the body. But do not forget we touch our faces and body with our hands so it’s just as easy to spread irritation further!
Commonly onycholysis images when posted to nail community forums for advice the instantaneous answer is allergy. Yet there are multiple causes of nail separation, allergy or irritation is not the only one. If you do not know these causes or have to turn to such forums perhaps you need to consider was your education of a good standard. When trained you should leave fully equipped to understand and deal with such situations. It is just as important to understand the skin and body’s functions as it is the anatomy of the Nail Unit.
As Nail Professionals whilst we cannot diagnose nor treat, we must always halt any service with any presented irritations and refer to the GP accordingly.
“Allergic contact reactions are less common than irritant reactions. To have an allergic response, the immune system needs to be involved, which explains why some people will develop allergies to a given substance and others never will; we all have a different genetic make-up.” Caroline Rainsford – Head of scientific & environmental services at the CTPA
What can you do to avoid causing an irritation or allergy?
To become over exposed to a product and develop an allergy it usually means that there has been prolonged and repetitive contact with the skin.
The main reasons for this happening are:
- Uncured or under-cured product due to incorrect cure time or incorrect lamp used
- Improper, careless application
- Uncured dust debris, this can happen when filling an under cured nail or when performing a soak off/removal of product
- Wiping the sticky residue from gels incorrectly, including ‘no wipe’ formulas
So what can you do to avoid causing these reactions?
- Use the correct Lamp
- Use brands together in full
- Do not touch uncured product with your skin
- Wear gloves, or if you really cannot, work extremely cleanly with the highest best practice measures
- Invest in a dust & vapour collection & ventilation
- Change/clean your desk tissue at intervals in the service keeping your working area clean
- Keep your bottle necks & handles clean & free from mess preventing transfer of uncured product to skin, utensils, furnishings etc
- Use legal, registered products avoiding consumer sites like Amazon and eBay
Get Educated! You invest so much in purchasing your chosen brand or getting every new release, why not spend the little extra and learn how to use them properly and gain the knowledge to understand your products inside & out. Thinking a product is not of a good standard yet you have not learned all the correct properties or methods is a huge waste of your money if you jump onto a different brand and repeat the same process.
Education is invaluable, it may just save your entire career. Ask yourself, In the event of a claim would your insurance cover you for using products you have not taken the conversion training in? *Always check with your insurance provider as terms and conditions of cover vary per insurer.
If you have read this entire document CONGRATULATIONS and well done for investing time in your knowledge and industry.
You can also take this FREE ONLINE COUSE on Allergies and how they happen via NAIL KNOWLEDGE.
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