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Are Enhancements Really Safe?


The products that nail technicians use come from the earth. They begin as crude oil pumped from the ground. The crude oil is then refined into different ‘yields’. The second yield gives us products such as butane and ethanol, and it is from this yield of crude that our products are derived. Many will use the term ‘natural’, which means to the majority of persons that these ‘things’ come from the earth, and yes, they do. Acrylics come from the earth as well as all the herbs that one uses in a holistic atmosphere.

Acrylic and Gel nails are the most common form of nail enhancements in the salon due to their ease of use, strength and durability. Both types are safe and non-damaging to the natural nail plate when applied, maintained, and removed by a licensed Nail Technician using proper techniques.

You may hear people say, "Having acrylic nails really damaged my natural nails... my natural nails were so sensitive and weak after the acrylic was removed..."

The fact is that the damage done to natural nails in the salon is done by the Nail Technician, NOT by the product being applied or removed.

~When a nail tech uses a file or drill that is too coarse for the natural nail, this removes excessive nail plate layers- resulting in a sensitive and thin natural nail

~When a nail tech uses acid primer- a corrosive bonding agent used with acrylics/gels- this can cause sensitivity if exposed to the surrounding skin (burning sensations), and possibly allergic reactions

~When a nail tech uses prohibited MMA liquid monomer instead of approved EMA liquid monomer when doing enhancements, this can cause several possible severe complications

~When a nail tech removes the artificial product by mechanically forcing it from the natural nail using a pair of acrylic nippers/clippers, this unnecessarily removes nail plate layers, leaving the natural nail sensitive, weak and thin


ENHANCEMENTS = "Natural nails perfectly preserved & protected"

Enhancements are designed to SAFELY AND PAINLESSLY

protect and preserve the natural nail.

Enhancements DO NOT damage natural nails~

UNTRAINED nail technicians do.

Enhancement products DO NOT damage natural nails~

UNTRAINED nail technicians do.

Some basic principles and procedures to remember when experiencing your enhancement procedure:

The entire process of enhancement application SHOULD NOT HURT IN ANY WAY- EVER!

If you feel burning, or ANY pain during your enhancement service, STOP THE TECHNICIAN!


If you feel burning, itching, redness or any other ailment after your enhancement service, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY.

Enhancement products should NEVER TOUCH YOUR SKIN! This includes ALL types of enhancement products!

If you experience pain while your nail technician is filing your nails (whether by hand or with an e-file/ drill), STOP THE TECHNICIAN!

If you see ‘rings of fire’ - red marks on your natural nails, this is a result of OVER FILING the natural nail. THIS DAMAGE IS CAUSED BY THE TECHNICIAN- not the actual file!

Glue should NOT be used to bond your natural nail to the existing enhancement.

Do not allow a technician to remove your natural nail from under the enhancement.

Do not allow your nail technician to use nippers, clippers, or any mechanical device to pry/remove lifted product from your natural nail! This will remove layers of the natural nail & cause trauma and damage to the natural nail!


Methyl Methacrylate is an ingredient that was commonly used in early "acrylic" nail services. In the early 1970's, the FDA received numerous complaints of personal injuries associated with the use of acrylic monomer formulated with MMA. The reports included serious nail damage or loss, contact dermatitis, soreness and infection due to breaks caused by the rigidly adhered acrylic.

By the end of the 1970's, the FDA had taken action against several manufacturers that marketed MMA liquid monomers. Most main stream acrylics use a product called EMA or Ethyl Methacrylate- which has been deemed much safer for use in the beauty industry.

What are the health risks associated with MMA products?

MMA-related complaints range from skin allergies to permanent loss of the nail plate. Here are the most common complaints that prompted the FDA to take action:

Nail Infections- The surface bond of MMA acrylic is so strong that even a slight trauma causes the nail to break and lift off the nail bed; which may result in infection and/or loss of the nail plate. Ironically, it is the strength of the acrylic that attracts some users. While MMA used in the medical and dental industries provides superior adhesion to bone, it is not appropriate or safe for use on the softer nail tissue.

Respiratory problems: eye, nose & throat irritations- MMA vapors are toxic even in small doses and can cause lung, liver and heart valve damage. This has been documented in lab technicians from dental labs where crowns and dentures are made.

Permanent Nail Deformities- The small molecular structure of MMA makes it possible for it to be absorbed through even unbroken skin. It can permanently damage the matrix, and further absorb into the body. MMA will not store in the tissue, it is stored as methanol in the blood and urine.

Severe Allergic Reactions- Repeated exposure to MMA can result in severe allergic reactions. Redness, swelling, numbness and itching are common symptoms which may lead to blisters/open sores.

"If my acrylic products don’t contain MMA, what ingredients do they contain? Are they harmful?"

All of the traditional acrylic liquids that are available through mainstream sources contain EMA- Ethyl Methacrylate, which is FREE of the hazards associated with MMA.

"What’s the difference between EMA and MMA?"

First, only 3 atoms distinguish the difference between EMA and MMA. However, this small chemical difference makes EMA much safer. An example is the difference between poisonous wood alcohol (methanol) and beverage alcohol (ethanol). Again the difference between the two molecules is only three atoms. Yet wood alcohol is deadly if consumed. Beverage alcohol is considered safe (if not used in excess!).


~ MMA has a strong, sharp fruity odor and can affect you when breathed in

~ MMA may damage a developing fetus

~ Exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose & throat

~ MMA can cause permanent skin allergy

~Exposure could damage the nervous system. Symptoms include: pins & needles, numbness, weakness, & changes in the ability to remember and concentrate

~Severe side effects may include abnormal liver or kidney function, nervous system damage and reproductive problems

Have you been exposed to MMA? Here’s how to tell:

~Low pricing for acrylic service, not special sale or offer

~Acrylic difficult or impossible to remove with acetone

~Techs secretive about brands used/unlabeled bottles

~Powerful, distinct odor of acrylic- noxious, sharp, fruity

~You experience headaches when you visit the salon

Is EMA really safe?

YES! EMA is one of the most studied monomers on Earth. There is a huge amount of scientific literature that backs up the safety of this important substance. It is used in everything from household plastics to medical devices that are implanted in the body. The CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel) and FDA have approved this liquid for use in nail products. (EMA has an odor- but it will not harm you in any way, and it is not an offensive odor).

Here at The Matrix Nail Lab, EMA is used exclusively. We also have adequate ventilation extraction- so that you will not be offended by any odor- it is drawn directly to the outside.