New Location: We've moved! Uptown Allergy & Asthma is now seeing patients at our new location at 2620 Jena Street (right next door to our old location!). We look forward to seeing you in our new space.

Resolve Your Allergy To Acrylic Nails!

Nail Polish Allergy Treatment in New Orleans

Are you allergic to acrylic in nail polish? If you suspect a nail polish allergy, learn about the symptoms and treatment options available to you. Dr. Reena Mehta is a board-certified allergist in New Orleans that specializes in treating acrylic nail polish allergy and other nail cosmetic allergies. Contact us today to schedule your visit!

I went to see Dr Mehta due to eczema flaring that has been on and off for a while. I had seen other dermatologist and they all would just prescribe me a topical steroid cream for a short term solution. Dr Mehta helped me come to the realization that it was certain products that I was using in my day to day life. After talking about switching some products at home, my eczema has been 100% better and I am no longer using any creams for itching. She is the best!

– Brooke G, March 2021

Dr. Mehta Uptown & Allergy Google Review Score
Nail polish allergy specialist Dr. Reena Mehta in New Orleans, LA
Uptown Allergy & Asthma logo horizontal

Nail Gel Polish Allergy Overview





In modern nail cosmetics, nail polish allergies are either caused by an acrylic allergy or tosylamide/formaldehyde resin allergy, with acrylic allergy being the more common diagnosis.

Nail Acrylic Allergy

Acrylate-based nail treatments have become increasingly common in recent years. Manicures today are resistant to chipping and scratches, making them wildly popular with consumers. The popularity of acrylate-based gels, dips, and nail wraps has resulted in an increase in nail acrylic allergy.

Nail acrylic allergy is triggered by acrylate monomers, including 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA), 2-hydroxypropyl methacrylate, ethyl cyanoacrylate, 1,4-butanediol diacrylate, hydroxypropyl acrylate, and 2-hydroxyethyl acrylate. Nail acrylic allergy may also be referred to as cyanoacrylate allergy or methacrylate allergy.

Nail polish on a woman's hand in a nail salon

Gel Polish Allergy

Traditional acrylic nails are applied using a powder polymer mixed with a liquid polymer. Newer gel manicures include an acrylate-based nail polish (causing the nail gel allergy), a base coat, two coats of color, and a top coat. Each layer is treated with an LED or UVA lamp, creating a long-lasting, semi permanent manicure.


Dips refer to gel dipping powders, another long-lasting acrylate-based nail treatment. The procedure for dipping begins with the application of a base polish along the entire nail, followed by a dip into the polish color of choice. This process is typically completed twice, followed by a top coat. Importantly, dips use ethyl cyanoacrylate nail polish (super glue).

Nail Wraps

Nail wraps are essentially stickers that are placed over or extend the nail plate. Ethyl cyanoacrylate and isopropyl-2-cyanoacrylates have been identified in nail wrap adhesives. Nail wraps themselves are typically made from linen, silk, vinyl, or other material. After the wrap is applied, nail polish and a top coat are usually applied as well.

Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin (TSFR) Allergy

Prior to the advent of acrylate nail treatments, nail polish allergy was mostly caused by tosylamide/formaldehyde resin (TSFR). The majority of consumer nail polishes are now marketed as TSFR-free, leading to a marked decline in TSFR allergy.

It is still possible to encounter TSFR in nail polishes, but it is much less common today than it was a decade ago.

Nail Polish Allergy Symptoms

The most common nail polish allergy symptoms is some pattern of contact dermatitis after an acrylate-based nail treatment. Affected areas become red, bumpy, scaly, itchy, or swollen at the point of contact. As acrylate exposure is typically limited to the hands, dermatitis typically presents on the hands, fingers, or wrists, but facial and neck dermatitis are somewhat common as well. Less commonly, the abdomen and thighs may be affected.

Nail technicians with acrylate allergy typically have a much worse reaction that develops with continuous exposure. Pulpitis and cutaneous fissures are common. Other nail polish allergy symptoms can include subungual hyperkeratosis, onycholysis, and nail dystrophy. Though rare, paresthesia, urticaria (hives), or upper respiratory tract symptoms can occur.

Patient experiencing allergic reaction to nail polish

Nail Polish Allergy Testing

If you suspect that you have an acrylate allergy, it’s important to receive a proper diagnosis even if you plan to discontinue nail treatments, because acrylates are quite common in medical products and other cosmetic applications, including dental procedures, orthopedic procedures, surgical glues, wound dressings, contact and intraocular lenses, and eyelash and hair extensions. Therefore, it’s important that your medical history accurately reflects your acrylic allergy status.

An allergist is best equipped to diagnose nail cosmetic reactions. Dr. Mehta can help you confirm whether or not you’re allergic to nail polishes or nail treatments. Allergy testing begins with a detailed medical history, where Dr. Mehta will ask you questions about your contact with nail treatment products and other common skin allergens that may be causing your symptoms. If your history is consistent with nail polish allergy, the next step is to undergo skin testing.

Patch Testing

Patch testing is a form of skin allergy testing that is used to identify causes of allergic contact dermatitis, including nail polish or nail acrylate allergy. Very small chambers containing different potential allergens, such as HEMA and ethyl cyanoacrylate, are taped to a patient’s back for several days to see what skin reactions occur. Localized patches of inflammation appear within 2 to 4 days, or even up to a week, if a skin allergy is present.
Woman undergoing patch testing for nail polish allergies

Nail Allergy Treatment

Nail Polish Allergy Prevention

If you’ve been diagnosed with an allergy to TSFR or acrylate, avoidance is the most effective way to prevent allergy symptoms. Avoid acrylate spillover (applying acrylate onto the skin) and direct contact with objects and surfaces contaminated with allergenic nail products.

If you work with acrylates as a nail technician or another profession, nitrile gloves are recommended to shield you from acrylate exposure while maintaining dexterity. Nitrile gloves are considered to be effective for 15 to 30 minutes of exposure, after which a glove change is recommended. If your work requires longer exposure to acrylate, industrial grade gloves, such as Silver Shield/4H gloves, may be effective but tend to limit dexterity. Dexterity can be maintained in this case by cutting off the fingertips of industrial grade gloves and wearing them underneath a standard nitrile glove.

How To Treat An Allergic Reaction To Gel Nail Polish?

As with other skin allergies, nail polish allergy symptoms can be relieved with regular use of moisturizer and topical medicines, such as topical steroids, calcineurin inhibitors, or phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitors.

Uptown Allergy & Asthma logo

Nail Acrylic Allergy Testing in New Orleans

Don’t act on suspicion alone. Get a formal nail cosmetic allergy test from a trusted allergist. Dr. Mehta has a reputation for developing strong relationships with her patients and being exceptionally attentive to their needs and concerns.

Book An Appointment

We are currently accepting new Adult and Pediatric patients.
We look forward to your visit!

Phone icon pink circle

Call us anytime,
M-F, 8am-5pm.

Book online icon pink circle

Put time on our calendar. Schedule an appointment using our online booking page.

Email icon pink circle

Email us or use the 
contact form below and we'll coordinate your visit.

You can also use this contact form for general inquiries.



(504) 605-5351

(877) 637-9467



Uptown New Orleans

2620 Jena St,
New Orleans, LA 70115

Uptown Allergy & Asthma logo horizontal pink

Social Media

Powered by OnChart Medical.

OnChart logo white

Copyright © 2024 by OnChart - All Rights Reserved. Please review our Terms of Use.