Research Article| Volume 40, ISSUE 6, P706-715, November 2022

Download started.


Side effects of gel nail polish: A systematic review


      Gel nail polish (GNP) has recently gained worldwide popularity. We have conducted a comprehensive summary of the complications of GNP through a literature search using the PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar databases to identify eligible contributions. Complications were divided into mechanical and traumatic nail disorders, allergic contact dermatitis (ACD), and ultraviolet (UV)–induced lesions. A total of 12 contributions were included, identifying 88 patients, all of whom were women. Six of the reports described ACD (62 cases, 70.5%), 3 concerned mechanical nail damage (23 cases, 26.1%), and 3 reported UV-induced skin lesions (3 cases, 3.4%). ACD developed an average of 30 months after GNP initiation. The most frequent culprit allergens were 2-hydroxypropyl methacrylate and 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate. Pterygium inversum unguis was the most frequent mechanical lesion (n = 17). Squamous cell carcinoma was reported in 3 cases. The delay between UV exposure and the diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma ranged from 11 to 15 years. Scant literature and a lack of education among consumers and beauticians have led to the uncontrolled use of GNP. The principle of managing nail cosmetic problems is prevention through education. There is a need for understanding the processes involved and the associated complications to facilitate appropriate treatment and safe use.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Clinics in Dermatology
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Gatica-Ortega ME
        • Pastor-Nieto MA
        • Mercader-García P
        • et al.
        Allergic contact dermatitis caused by (meth)acrylates in long-lasting nail polish: are we facing a new epidemic in the beauty industry?.
        Contact Dermatitis. 2017; 77: 360-366
        • Romita P
        • Foti C
        • Barlusconi C
        • et al.
        Contact allergy to (meth)acrylates in gel nail polish in a child: an emerging risk for children.
        Contact Dermatitis. 2020; 83: 39-40
        • Gatica-Ortega ME
        • Pastor-Nieto MA
        • Gil-Redondo R
        • et al.
        Non-occupational allergic contact dermatitis caused by long-lasting nail polish kits for home use: “the tip of the iceberg.
        Contact Dermatitis. 2018; 78: 261-265
        • Scheers C
        • André J
        • Negulescu M
        • et al.
        Recurrent cheilitis and lip oedema caused by (meth)acrylates present in ultraviolet-curable nail lacquer.
        Contact Dermatitis. 2015; 72: 341-342
        • Le Q
        • Cahill J
        • Palmer-Le A
        • et al.
        The rising trend in allergic contact dermatitis to acrylic nail products: ACD to acrylic nail products.
        Australas J Dermatol. 2015; 56: 221-223
        • Dahlin J
        • Berne B
        • Dunér K
        • et al.
        Several cases of undesirable effects caused by methacrylate ultraviolet-curing nail polish for non-professional use: undesirable effects caused by UV-curing nail polish.
        Contact Dermatitis. 2016; 75: 151-156
        • Sterkens A
        • Dendooven E
        • Lambert J
        • et al.
        Hand dermatitis from daylight curing “hybrid” gel nail polish.
        Contact Dermatitis. 2021; 84: 449-450
        • Chen AF
        • Chimento SM
        • Hu S
        • et al.
        Nail damage from gel polish manicure.
        J Cosmet Dermatol. 2012; 11: 27-29
        • Cervantes J
        • Sanchez M
        • Eber AE
        • et al.
        Pterygium inversum unguis secondary to gel polish.
        J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2018; 32: 160-163
        • Hwang S
        • Kim M
        • Cho BK
        • et al.
        Case of various nail changes induced by gel polish.
        J Dermatol. 2016; 43: 1381-1382
        • Freeman C
        • Hull C
        • Sontheimer R
        • et al.
        Squamous cell carcinoma of the dorsal hands and feet after repeated exposure to ultraviolet nail lamps.
        Dermatol Online J. 2020; 26 (13030/qt1rd1k82v)
        • MacFarlane DF
        • Alonso CA.
        Occurrence of nonmelanoma skin cancers on the hands after UV nail light exposure.
        Arch Dermatol. 2009; 145: 447-449
        • Madnani NA
        • Khan KJ.
        Nail cosmetics.
        Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2012; 78: 309-317
        • Frumess GM
        • Lewis HM
        • Henschel EJ.
        Disturbance Of nails and nail beds produced by artificial fingernails.
        J Am Med Assoc. 1952; 149: 828-829
        • Jefferson J
        • Rich P.
        Update on nail cosmetics.
        Dermatol Ther. 2012; 25: 481-490
        • Gatica-Ortega ME
        • Pastor-Nieto MA
        • Silvestre-Salvador JF.
        Allergic contact dermatitis caused by acrylates in long-lasting nail polish.
        Actas Dermosifiliogr. 2018; 109: 508-514
        • Shihab N
        • Lim HW.
        Potential cutaneous carcinogenic risk of exposure to UV nail lamp: a review.
        Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2018; 34: 362-365
        • Stern DK
        • Creasey AA
        • Quijije J
        • et al.
        UV-A and UV-B penetration of normal human cadaveric fingernail plate.
        Arch Dermatol. 2011; 147: 439-441
        • Lorizzo M
        • Piraccini BM
        • Tosti A.
        Nail cosmetics in nail disorders.
        J Cosmet Dermatol. 2007; 6: 53-58
        • Rieder EA
        • Tosti A.
        Cosmetically induced disorders of the nail with update on contemporary nail manicures.
        J Clin Aesthetic Dermatol. 2016; 9: 39-44
        • Muttardi K
        • White IR
        • Banerjee P.
        The burden of allergic contact dermatitis caused by acrylates: 3-year study of acrylate allergy in a regional patch test centre.
        Contact Dermatitis. 2016; 75: 180-184
        • Tramontana M
        • Hansel K
        • Bianchi L
        • et al.
        Use of self-applied sculptured gel nails may increase the risk of allergy to (meth)acrylates in children and adolescents.
        J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2021; 35: e765-e767
        • Gonçalo M
        • Pinho A
        • Agner T
        • et al.
        Allergic contact dermatitis caused by nail acrylates in Europe. An EECDRG study.
        Contact Dermatitis. 2018; 78: 254-260
        • Ramos L
        • Cabral R
        • Gonçalo M.
        Allergic contact dermatitis caused by acrylates and methacrylates: a 7-year study.
        Contact Dermatitis. 2014; 71: 102-107
        • Raposo I
        • Lobo I
        • Amaro C
        • et al.
        Allergic contact dermatitis caused by (meth)acrylates in nail cosmetic products in users and nail technicians: a 5-year study.
        Contact Dermatitis. 2017; 77: 356-359
        • Curtis J
        • Tanner P
        • Judd C
        • et al.
        Acrylic nail curing UV lamps: high-intensity exposure warrants further research of skin cancer risk.
        J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013; 69: 1069-1070
        • Ratycz MC
        • Lender JA
        • Gottwald LD.
        Multiple dorsal hand actinic keratoses and squamous cell carcinomas: a unique presentation following extensive UV nail lamp use.
        Case Rep Dermatol. 2019; 11: 286-291