I was rushed to hospital with horrible blisters and swelling after a manicure at a nail salon

A NAIL technician was rushed to A&E after suffering from severe blisters and swelling following a gel manicure.

Kirsty Conner, 31, from London, used to have the beauty treatment on a regular basis, so it never occurred to her that one day it would land her in the hospital.


Kirsty had been having gel nails for years before she developed a reactionCredit: Kirsty Connor / The Times
The nail technician from London first noticed that her nails were itchy and starting to lift


The nail technician from London first noticed that her nails were itchy and starting to liftCredit: Kirsty Connor / The Times

The nail technician from Beckenham also used to provide gel manicures to around 20 clients a week and had built up a sizeable collection of 300 gel polishes in the ten years she had been offering the treatment.

But after years of using the gel-based polish, she noticed that her nails were becoming itchy and lifting away.

Later, the 31-year-old noticed blisters appearing on her hands, and her arms and eyes began to swell.

She quickly started struggling to breathe and eventually called an ambulance.

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Once in A&E Kirsty was told that she had developed an allergic reaction to the substances commonly found in gel polishes, which help the colour to harden under an ultraviolet lamp.

Kirsty said: “The doctors at the hospital said it was quite a common problem.

“I had been using the big high street brands for years and I had never heard of it so I want to raise awareness.”

After her severe allergic reaction, beauty technician Kirsty threw away her collection of gel polishes and now only works with natural non toxic products.

Gel manicures have soared in popularity over the years, and are now the most popular beauty treatment in the UK, according to online booking system Treatwell.

Gel polishes typically contain methacrylate chemicals, which can be an irritant and cause allergies.

The chemicals enter the skin when the ultraviolet lamps that are used to harden each layer of gel are not used for long enough or the equipment is poorly maintained.

Dr Justine Hextall, a consultant dermatologist, and fellow of the Royal College of Physicians told The Times: “The problem is artificial nails and gel manicures have become the norm.

“People think of these as a basic requirement for grooming, like brushing your hair, when actually nails aren’t built to sustain this much trauma.

“One of the first questions I ask when I see a patient with facial eczema, especially around the eyes, is whether they get their nails done, if they have gel polish and when they last had them done.

“We’re always touching our faces, so reaction often shows up here.”

Dr Deirdre Buckley, a consultant dermatologist in Bath, said she believes thousands of women around the country could be suffering with nail polish-related allergies.

She said: “It is so common now that we can usually tell what the problem is when a patient walks into the clinic.

“I see people with a sort of stripy rash on their cheeks and neck or eyelid swelling because of their fingernails touching their face.

“They will often have thought very very hard about what could be causing it — their cosmetics, their workplace — but not their nails.”

Another woman who tried to give herself a glamourous nail makeover was left devastated when it went wrong causing an allergic reaction and ruining her nails.

Doctors have also previously warned that having gel manicures could trigger nasty allergic rashes on your face, hands, and even your vagina, and are urging people to be wary of gel and gel polish home kits.

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