Are Acrylic Nails Safe When Pregnant -Debate For & Against
Acrylic nails are well known for using a lot of strong chemicals with intense odors during the application process.
This is why many individuals wonder if acrylic nails are safe to get when pregnant or breastfeeding. That’s why in this article we are going to be answering:
- Can You Get Acrylic Nails Done When Pregnant or Breastfeeding
- What are the Arguments against getting acrylic nails when pregnant or breastfeeding?
- And Some Easy Tips to make acrylic nails safer during pregnancy or breastfeeding
Can You Get Acrylic Nails Done When Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
Now it’s important to note that as of writing this article on February 2023 there have been no studies done to show the effects of getting acrylic nails when pregnant or breastfeeding to either confirm or deny if it’s safe.
But most experts agree that once proper procedures are followed and good quality products are used you can safely get acrylic nails when pregnant or breastfeeding. Citation.
Now there is a study that has shown that some of the chemicals used during acrylic application in very large quantities can increase the chances of miscarriages, deformities, and other pregnancy issues. But this has been shown to occur when women were exposed to extremely large quantities which are not typical in a salon environment.
I personally don’t recommend acrylic nails to my pregnant clients because of the many unknowns and also they are so many safer options available, keep reading to learn more.
One of the best types of manicures is Press-on Nails. When applied using nail tabs, press-on nails are probably the safest nail extension manicure for pregnant women. You can click here to learn more.
Related Articles –
Dangers & Effects of Acrylic Nails- Can it Cause Cancer
What is Acrylic Monomer- Best Brands to Use & Side Effects
Arguments For Acrylic Nails
1- Not much exposure to chemicals
Most experts and nail techs will tell you that most of the chemicals used during the acrylic application won’t be absorbed into the bloodstream to affect the mother or child.
And if any do get absorbed it will be in very negligible amounts.
This is the main reason why a lot of nail techs and other experts are ok with pregnant and breastfeeding women getting acrylic nails and are not deterred from getting them.
Related Article – Allergic Reaction to Acrylic Nails- How to Spot & Treat
2- No Evidence to Show any Dangers
There has been no evidence to show that acrylic nails, once proper precautions are taken and safe products are used, can affect you or the child when pregnant or breastfeeding
Also, a lot of nail techs will be quick to point out that pregnant women all over the world get acrylic nails every day and there haven’t been any significant reports of it causing any major health side effects.
Related Article – Acrylic Nails turn Yellow or Brown: Causes & How to Fix
3- Can Take Precautions to Reduce Risks
Now you can take precautions to reduce any possible effects that acrylic nails can have on women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Gonna share some easy tips you can do at the end of the article, so keep on reading.
Related Article – How Acrylic Ruin Your Nails & Tips to Prevent Damages
Arguments Against Getting Acrylic Nails When Pregnant or Breastfeeding
1- Chemicals used in Acrylic Application May Pose a Risk
No official studies have been done to show chemicals in Acrylic Applications are totally safe for women that are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The argument that acrylic is safe for pregnant women most experts would put forward is that these chemicals, like the monomer, acetone, and primer, are usually used in small amounts, and little if any would be absorbed into the body.
But a lot of times when actual health studies are done they can find things that were once considered safe actually pose a risk.
One such case is with UV nail lamps which were once considered very safe but now studies have shown actually can increase the chances of getting skin cancer. Citation.
You can click here to read my tips on How to Protect Your Hands from UV Nail Lamps.
2- Some Salons use unsafe Acrylic Products
Low-quality acrylic products can contain a chemical called Methyl Methacrylate or MMA usually found in the acrylic liquid.
Now the health risks of MMA acrylic products are extremely bad even in individuals who are not pregnant. Since it can cause: light-headedness, trembling of hands, rashes and so much more. Citation.
The effects of MMA acrylic products on pregnant women will be more likely and more intense due to them being more sensitive and vulnerable.
MMA products are banned in some countries and states but some salons still use them because they tend to be cheaper.
Related Article – Acrylic Nails- How Long to Wear & When to take a Break
3- Strong Odor Can Cause Nausea
Now if you have ever gotten acrylic nails then you will know that it has a strong odor. This is usually from the acrylic liquid which is the monomer.
This strong odor from the acrylic liquid can cause nausea to pregnant women especially in the first trimester when they are the most sensitive to strong odors. Citation.
Additionally, acetone which is used in large quantities during the removal of acrylic nails has a distinct odor that can be unpleasant for pregnant women.
I highly recommend using odorless acrylic monomer when pregnant since it produces less odor, click here to learn more.
Related Article – 7 Tips to Quickly Heal Damaged Nails After Acrylic Or Gel
4- Higher Risk of Nail Infections
When you get a manicure such as acrylic or gel nails, you tend to be at a higher risk of nail infections.
This is either from unclean nail tools or products or from bacteria buildup under the acrylic nails if they start to lift.
Any type of infection is not good when pregnant since your body tends to be more vulnerable and weak.
Related Article – Why do Acrylic Nails Hurt & Easy Tips to Relieve the Pain
5- Safer Alternatives
They are so many other safer types of manicures that you can get when pregnant, that are safer and use less harsh and strong chemicals.
I recommend to women who are pregnant and breastfeeding and who don’t what to get acrylic or gel nails but still want extensions to get Press on Nails and use nail tabs to glue them on, click here to learn more.
You can also click here to learn more about Press on Nails & other forms of healthier and safer types of Manicures.
Tips to Make Acrylic Nails Safer For Women that are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
1- Avoid Using Products with MMA
You need to read labels and ask your nail tech if their liquid monomer contains Methyl Methacrylate also known as MMA.
One sign that your salon uses MMA products is a presence of an intense overwhelming scent usually a sharp fruity one when you go into the salon.
Instead, you should use products that contain ethyl methacrylate (EMA) which is generally considered safer to use.
MMA products tend to be cheaper and have a strong pungent scent when compared to EMA.
2- Wear Masks
I recommend anyone getting acrylic nails done, to wear a mask during the application and removal process.
A mask will prevent you from inhaling fumes from the liquid monomer or acetone and dust when removing the nails.
3- Ensure the Salon is well Ventilated
Along with wearing a mask, I recommend going to a salon that is well-ventilated. A good salon should have vents to constantly pull stale air in and pump out fresh air.
This will prevent a buildup of chemicals such as acetone and monomer which can then easily be absorbed.
4- Avoid Using too Many Harsh Chemicals
Products like nail primers and dehydrators are used to make the acrylic adhere better to your nails. But when you are pregnant you need to try to avoid getting exposed to potentially harsh chemicals.
This is why you can tell your nail tech not to use any nail primer or dehydrator instead they can clean your nails with rubbing alcohol.
Rubbing alcohol won’t be as effective as a nail primer so your acrylic nails might be prone to lifting but it’s best to be on the safer side when pregnant.
You can also click here to read my How to DIY Nail Primers and Dehydrators.
5- Avoid Cutting Cuticles
Cutting your cuticles puts you at a much higher risk of developing an infection. So pregnant or not you should tell your nail tech to push back your cuticles and not cut them.
You can click here to read more about why it’s a bad idea to cut your cuticles and what to do instead.
6- Only go to Qualified and Skilled Nail Technicians
Skilled and experienced nail techs will know what they are doing and not use too much acrylic liquid when making acrylic beads. This reduces how much you are exposed to.
A good nail tech will also ensure that all of their tools such as brushes and cuticle pushers are sterilized which reduces the chances of getting a nail infection.
7- Avoid Nail Products that Contain Toxic Chemicals
It’s recommended that you avoid nail polishes and other nail products that contain:
- Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) – can potentially affect pregnant women. Citation.
- Toluene – has been suspected to be damaging to fertility. Citation.
- Formaldehyde – is a known carcinogen. Citation.
Some of these chemicals have even been banned from nail products by the EU but can still be found in some nail products. They should be especially avoided when Pregnant or breastfeeding.
Instead, I would recommend using nail products that are 5 free. You can click here to see the price for Eternal’s 5 free nail polishes on Amazon. It doesn’t contain toluene, formaldehyde, or DBP.
Is it bad to smell acrylic while pregnant?
Yes, it’s very bad to smell acrylic fumes when pregnant or not pregnant. It can make you feel nauseated and can cause other severe health risks.
Can Acrylic fumes cause a miscarriage?
Inhaling a lot of acrylic fumes in large amounts can pose a risk. This means you should avoid being exposed to it either when pregnant or not pregnant. Citation.
This is why I always wear a mask and try to keep the room well-ventilated when dealing when acrylic nails and I recommend to all my clients to do the same both pregnant and non-pregnant ones.
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