What is MMA?
MMA stands for METHYL METHACRYLATE. Its a cheap and nasty chemical used in acrylic liquid monomer. It has been banned in 30 of the US States in America since the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) seized numerous liquids containing MMA in 1974. Other organisations in America such as the MPA (Methacrylate Producers Association) and NOHSC (National Occupational Health & Safety Commission) are fighting hard to raise awareness to the dangers involved in using MMA for nail products. This must go to show how serious this issue is. So why is it still legal in the UK? The Nail Industry needs regulating!
Because its cheap is the simple answer! Unfortunately, many Nail Technicians using it may not know the dangers and even if they do, they may not realise that MMA is in their Acrylic liquid.
WHO ELSE USES IT?
More commonly in the dental industry to make false teeth and crowns. Also false limbs. This is in a controlled environment and is safe, although a case study of a Dental Technician shows the potential affects of MMA over exposure: Click to link
WHY IS MMA DANGEROUS IN NAIL EXTENSIONS?
The Extensions tend to be rock hard, so they rarely lift or break. The clients think the nails are the cat's pyjamas and the Nail Tech has done a top job. What they do not realise is the damage being caused to their natural nail. Common problems range from minor reactions, to severe blisters, itchy skin, loss of sensation, complete or partial loss of the nail plate, ridges, sore nail beds, infection and permanent damage to the nail itself. The strong odour can lead to respiratory problems and can even cause asthma attacks.
WHATS THE SAFE ALTERNATIVE ?
EMA (Ethyl Methacrylate) has been replacing MMA for some time. It is more expensive but when used correctly is a lot safer. At Realistic Beauty, we only use EMA products.
SIGNS OF A SALON USING MMA
Nail Technicians will wear masks to prevent inhalation of the very strong almost acidic odour.
Electric Drills are often used to allow the MMA to stick to the nail plate.
The Extensions are fairly difficult to remove as MMA does not respond greatly to acetone (removal fluid). Drills or harsh, course files are often used to remove the product.
The Nails tend to go yellow after 2-6 weeks.
Allergic reactions such as redness, itchy skin, blisters, and swollen cuticles are very common.
WHAT MAKES A SAFE SALON ?
All Qualifications should be displayed to prove to clients that the Nail Tech has been trained correctly in Nail Technology and totally understands the chemicals used to enhance nails. At Realistic Beauty, you can ask to see our Certificates that we have gained in respect of Nails and Beauty.
Salons should display a poster warning of the dangers of MMA. We are proud to say that we do not use it. All bottles and pumps are correctly labelled.
A full set of Acrylic Nails should take approximately 30-40 minutes to remove in Acetone. This does vary from Technician to Technician though.
Salons should offer a full written consultation with their clients including medical details. Communication is very important and Clients should always be given the correct information if they should ask for it, plus after care leaflets should their treament require.
A good salon will practice high standards of Hygiene
with the use of clean, sterilised tools along with the use of desk and hand sanitizers. Emery boards should be single use only and either given to the client or disposed of after use. White sand blocks and buffing blocks are the exception as they can be sanitised using the relevant sanitizing liquid.
This has even been a subject of a watchdog report calling for it to be banned!!
Realistic Beauty would like to give thanks to Rachel Myatt of K-Sa-Ra who originally raised the awareness and started the campaign for the banning of MMA.