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Artificial Nails: a brief history and what to do when they go wrong

  • April 3, 2019
  • mmassen
  • Comments Off on Artificial Nails: a brief history and what to do when they go wrong


The history of artificial nails

Artificial nails have been worn predominantly by women for hundreds of years, originally by Egyptian women as a symbol of status and wealth. These were often made from bones or ivory.

The concept of the acrylic nail was then accidentally founded in 1954 by a dentist called Frederick Slack. One day at work he broke his nail and fashioned an artificial nail to go over his broken one, using dental acrylics.

Since then, acrylic nails have progressed into what is worn by many people today as a beauty and fashion statement.

Application of acrylic nails

Put simply, the client’s nails are prepared for the application of the acrylic nail by pushing back and cutting the cuticles and filing the pre-existing nail.

Acrylic powder and liquid are mixed together to create a tacky substance, that is then applied to the pre-existing nail or a nail tip to create length. This is then sculpted into the preferred shape and length and set, either by a top coat nail varnish or under a UV lamp.

A lack of required skill by the nail technician or poor hygiene practices in preparing and applying the nail extensions can often result in irritations, infections and even long-term injury.

Common problems that can arise

  • Allergic reactions: The chemicals used to attach or remove artificial nails can irritate your skin.
  • Infections: Bacterial or fungal infections can arise when the artificial nail is not applied correctly or lifts from the nail bed. This creates a space for bacteria to enter and grow.
  • Infections can also arise when the cuticle or skin surrounding the nail is cut back too far, creating small wounds where bacteria can enter.
  • Poor hygiene, in that the equipment used is not properly sterilised, can also lead to infection.

 Allergic reactions and infections can lead to painful injuries to the nails that require medical treatment. As a worst-case scenario, these injuries can even lead to scarring and permanent deformation of the nail bed, which can sometimes require intervention in the form of plastic surgery.

These injuries, due to the poor practice of your nail technician, can be inconvenient, debilitating and extremely painful.

Whilst the application of acrylic nails is predominantly unregulated, your nail technician still owes you a duty to be properly experienced in the hygiene and application procedures of applying acrylic nails.

If you suffer an injury due to poor practices by your nail technician, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact our experienced legal team for expert advice:

  • email:
  • call: 0113 224 7842

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