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Contact Sensitization to Allergens in Nail Cosmetics

Chou, Margaret BA*; Dhingra, Nikhil MD; Strugar, Tamara Lazic MD

doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000301

Ingredients found in the nail cosmetic industry, including but not limited to methacrylate and acrylate monomers, formaldehyde, and toluene sulfonamide-formaldehyde resin, can incite allergic contact dermatitis. An eczematous outbreak presents on areas surrounding the nail plate and may spread through contact transfer of the allergen, commonly to the face and neck. Even components that were originally deemed nonsensitizing, such as the ubiquitous cyanoacrylate adhesive family, have been found to be allergenic. They do not, however, cross-react with methacrylates and acrylates. Alternative options for individuals with allergic contact dermatitis reactions to these ingredients can be avoidance of these procedures or use of products that are “3, 4, 5 free” in which the common allergens dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde are absent. In cases where strengthening of the nail is the sole purpose, nail wraps or preformed nails can be applied for non–cyanoacrylate-sensitive individuals.

From the *Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and †Department of Dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.

Address reprint requests to Tamara Lazic Strugar, MD, 200 W 57th St, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10019. E-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.

© 2017 American Contact Dermatitis Society
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