How to distinguish an allergic reaction from other nail conditions

Nails are one of the first things people notice about yourself. That's why we go to extreme lengths to keep them healthy, strong, and good-looking. We wash them, trim them, and we often get manicure and pedicure to make sure our nails are in excellent shape. Sometimes, the nail can get different conditions that affect their appearance and need immediate care.

Allergic reaction


The reason why allergies occur it’s not entirely discovered. Our body overreacts when it comes in contact with different agents that shouldn't typically cause any response from our body. It's often referred to as a sensibilization process. Sometimes, our body may find nail polish for instance as a foreign, harmful agent and tries to defend itself by causing various unwanted symptoms. The substance to blame for your reactions is Methyl methacrylate, or MMA. Fortunately, the allergic response is limited to the skin and does not cause any respiratory problem. Some of the signs may include:

1. Red and swollen cuticles: you may experience itching of the skin around your nail as well, and you can develop a rash. It’s a reaction to the MMA called contact dermatitis. It is not an allergic reaction per se, but it is a type of delayed hypersensitivity. It occurs after you’ve exposed yourself several times to the harmful agent.

2. Irritation: the skin around your chin or eyes may be irritated

3. Skin breakdown: your skin may exfoliate easier than usual and you can even have blisters and pain.

Watch out for this symptoms and refer to a doctor if they worsen or you experience headaches.

Other nail conditions

Allergies may look very much like other conditions of the nail, and it's necessarily that you recognize the difference and start treating it immediately.

You may confuse nail fungus with allergy due to the nail changes it produces. It causes yellow or brown discoloration, thickening of the nail, and sometimes even pain. Nail fungus, or onychomycosis, can be prevented easily through thorough hygiene. You should keep your nails short, dry (especially toenails, since it's more commonly met there due to the moist and warm environment). If you want to decrease your chances of getting this fungal infection, you can use antifungal products. ZetaClear, for instance, is a homeopathic product that offers excellent protection against fungi and successfully kills them as well.


Once you notice you may have allergies to MMA, there are very easy and quick tests that a doctor can perform to confirm this diagnosis. It’s essential that you avoid all contact with this substance. If you currently wear nail polish, take it off immediately and thoroughly wash your hands with water and soap.

Be careful because this substance is found in many different products such as nail polish, base coat, top coat, and even hairspray. Carefully read the label before you use anything, to make sure you avoid any allergic reactions.

Make sure you have all the information you need to correctly distinguish an allergic reaction for a nail condition and take immediate safety precautions.