it's poisonous & deleterious
How do they do it? How does that nail salon down the street charge $25 for a full set when another is charging $40?
Chances are the reason their acrylic nails are so cheap is that they're using products containing MMA. No, that's not gang-slang for your mama. MMA is an abbreviation for methyl methacrylate, a substance the FDA called "poisonous and deleterious" in 1974, when it took C.E.B. Products, Inc, to court and halted distribution of their MMA-laden monomer.
What exactly is MMA? The Definition of MMA
MMA stands for Methyl Methacrylate; a colorless liquid with a sharp, fruity odor. It is typically used to make resins, plastics, and specifically plastic dentures. In the nail industry this dangerous chemical can be found in acrylic liquids/monomers. When MMA acrylic liquid is used the nails are typically referred to as "dental acrylics" or "porcelain nails". The FDA has prohibited this checmical from being used on fingernails, however some states still have not "banned" this chemical from use in nail salons.
How MMA Can Affect Your Nails
The FDA received consumer complaints of rashes, contact dermatitis, nail damage, loss of natural nails and nerve damage. If you check Material Safety Data Sheets , they mention potential eye, skin, nose and throat irritation from prolonged exposure to MMA and severe side effects could include liver, kidney, reproductive and central nervous system damage.
- You may notice a skin allergy or sensitivity after the application of MMA acrylics.
- MMA can cause the nail plates to deteriorate or crumble.
- MMA can cause damage to the nails and stunt the nail growth, temporarily or permanently.
- You can have permanent loss of sensation in the fingertips.
- Methods used to apply and remove MMA acrylics are very damaging to the nail plate and can cause pain and sensitivity.
Do I Have MMA Acrylic Nails?
These are few of the possible ways to tell:
- Very low pricing for acrylic service (not a special sale or offer).
- Acrylics are extremely difficult to file, even with coarse abrasives. Typically salons that use MMA will only use a drill with a very coarse drill bit to grind away the product.
- Acrylics are difficult or impossible to remove with acetone or other solvents. Typically salons that use MMA will use an implement to force the acrylic from your nail plate. This causes damage to your natural nail plate.
- Technicians or management are secretive about the acrylic products being used. They may say "OPI", but it may be that they are using OPI containers that contain MMA liquid.
- Nail plate can lift or split causing bleeding or infections after jamming or breaking a MMA nail. MMA nails do not "give" like "EMA" acrylics.
How can I avoid MMA Acrylic Nails?
Only allow licensed nail technicians in a reputable salons work on your nails. It is best to seek out a referral from trusted friends or family members to ensure your safety in all respects. MMA shops have also been linked to having unlicensed nail technicians and unsanitary practices. (Note: Typically "discount shops" are known for the use of MMA, however it can happen in any salon)
- If the price for acrylic nails sounds too good to be true, it may be that the shop is using MMA liquid monomer. MMA liquid monomer is very cheap compared to the safer EMA liquid monomer. Therefore, shops can afford to offer acrylic nails for really low prices.
- If the odor in the salon you visit is extremely strong and fruity smelling, the nail technicians are all wearing masks, the nail technicians all use drills, and the nail technicians do not use proper removal methods for acrylic, then the shop could be using MMA liquid.
A few of the more popular brands of professional acrylic systems that contain NO MMA are OPI, Creative Nail, EZ Flow, Tammy Taylor and Kizmit. These bottles are well labeled. Simply ask your nail technician which one is used on your nails, and have them reassure you that their system contains NO MMA. Please note however, the majority of these devious nail tech place MMA in these type of containers as well. Don't always believe the bottle.
FYI: MMA only refers to Acrylics; UV Gels and Fabric Wraps of any brand are not affected by MMA.
Alternatives to Acrylics
- UV Light Cured Gel- lightweight, less chemicals involved, less filing, non-yellowing, glass like, great for natural nail overlay.
- Fabric Wrap- lightweight, less chemicals involved, less filing, great for natural nail overlay.
- Natural Nail Manicure- pampering, relaxing, stimulates nail growth, moisturizing.
Report the Use of MMA
If you know of someone who is using MMA containing products, or suspect that someone is using them in a salon, report your findings to your local State Board of Cosmetology and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. You may also file a report with the Nail Manufacturers Council at 3l2.245.1595.