The Scary Nail Trend That’s Actually Illegal

Getting your nails done should be a time to relax and pamper yourself without a care in the world. Investigations have shown the uglier side of nail salons, which in some cases revealed unsafe conditions and health hazards for customers. For fans of acrylic nail sets, precaution needs to be taken a step further thanks to the use of a widely illegal substance, Methyl Methacrylate. It’s currently banned in several states across the US, but some salons might be using it anyway. We spoke to Ruth Kallens, the founder and owner of health-conscious nail salon Van Court Studio, about what being exposed to MMA can do to both your health and your nails.


"MMA (Methyl Methacrylate) is an ingredient that was commonly used in early nail enhancements. It was used by orthopedic surgeons during bone replacements surgeries as bone 'cement or grout’ and it has also been used in flooring products. It was not design to be in contact with human skin," Ruth said.

"MMA is banned in 30 states. In the 1970s, the US Food and Drug Administration received a number of injury complaints associated with the use of MMA. As such, the FDA stated that the substance is poisonous," she said.

Find out if MMA is banned in your home state here.

"MMA can cause cancer, nail infections, respiratory problems, eye, nose and throat irritation, permanent nail deformities and allergic reactions," she said.

"In order for MMA to adhere to natural nail, the nail has to be buffed and etched, significantly. This thins and weakens the natural nail, putting it at a higher risk of absorption. While the strength of MMA is effective as an adhesion for bone and teeth in the medical and dental industries, it is not suitable for soft tissue such as the nail plate," she explained.

"Because MMA is an extremely durable, hard substance, if the nail enhancement is caught on something and breaks, it could rip the entire natural nail off the plate. MMA liquid also burns the skin when it comes into contact," she added.

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