Just Say NO to Getting Your Nails Done with Products with MMA

A girl saying no to getting nails with MMA Acrylic
Nail salons are all about the same, right? WRONG! You can pay anywhere from $25 for a set of acrylic nails to $150+ for something similar, depending on where you go and the skill of the nail tech doing the work. It’s easy to assume that the more expensive places are better because they charge so much, but in reality, there is no correlation between prices and the quality of the acrylic nails. Reputable salons will use safer products containing Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA), which can be up to 10x more expensive than other acrylic types like Methyl methacrylate (MMA). Some in and out nail salons use this cheaper acrylic to cut costs, but there are many risks to your health associated with its use. In this blog post, we will explain the history of MMA, how you can protect yourself from the dangers it poses, and what questions you can ask yourself to stay safe from the danger of nails done with MMA.

What is MMA?

Methyl Methacrylate MMA, was introduced to the nail industry in the 1970s. It’s a compound originally used in the dental industry as a fast-acting compound to fix dental work. Acrylic-based polymers have been used in restorative dentistry since the early fifties. Dentists use acrylic powder to form dentures and crowns because of the strength that the compound exhibits. The monomer MMA is a volatile, flammable, and colorless liquid mixed with pre-polymerized MMA powder (PMMA) to make dental products. In the late ’60 and early ’70, nail technicians began using MMA on their clients because it is way cheaper thanย Ethyl methacrylateย (EMA) – a type of acrylic monomer (liquid) used to form acrylic nails. In 1974 the FDA took action against nail product manufacturers using MMA in their nail products because of the significant health risk that MMA poses but did not outlaw the product. By the end of the 1970s, numerous complaints had been filed with the FDA concerning the horrible effects that this compound caused when exposed to people’s skin, something that began to happen more often in nail salons. Thus it became “somewhat” illegal. Unfortunately, the FDA left it up to the states to regulate its use. Although it is dangerous, nail salons still use MMA to save money, and it is not illegal in all 50 states in the USA. Some states like Texas declared MMA illegal in nail salons. Laws provide a certain level of protection to the public but do not prevent it from being shipped in and used in a nail salon environment. So what can you do to protect yourself from MMA?ย 

How to Protect yourself from MMA

How can you make sure you are safe when getting nails done? There are some questions you can ask yourself to protect yourself when you sit at any nail station that will help protect you.
  1. What labels do you see on the containers?ย It will be a good idea to look at the containers that nail techs use to store the acrylic liquid and powders used during your service. However, the containers alone won’t eliminate the possibility of a shady salon just using MMA in a container from a reputable company. Most professional nail manufacturers clearly label all the chemicals in the products they sell on the containers. Don’ be afraid to ask questions if you don’t notice a label.
  2. How does the liquid being used smell?ย – MMA has an unusual smell. Some people say it smells like fish, but some people say it smells like cat urine. If it smells like fishy cat urine and that smell becomes more pronounced during the application of the product, and when the product is filled down, you are probably getting exposed to MMA.
  3. How hard is the product?ย – MMA is extremely hard to remove. The hardness of the product is one of the reasons why it has been used to make teeth for people. If you get your nails done with MMA, it is best to remove them as soon as possible because the hardness of MMA can cause you to lose your nail bed if you accidentally jam a finger since MMA won’t break like EMA nail enhancements.
  4. How do you feel?ย – There are many health risks associated with exposure to MMA. When you sit down with your nail technician, if you begin to feel drowsy, light-headedness, dizzy, or your hands become shaky, there is a chance that MMA is being used. MMA can also cause skin sensitization or dermatitis resulting in skin redness, itchiness, rashes, or swelling.
  5. How much do your nails cost? –ย Price alone can’t protect you, but if you go to a salon with significantly cheaper prices, it could result from them using cheaper products for their services. Reputable nail salons charge more to be able to offer their guests high-quality products and services and upkeep.ย Remember MMA costs are up to 10 times cheaper than EMA the safer alternative.

Are your wearing MMA nails?

Some clues can lead you to conclude that you have been the victim of MMA nails after a nail service. For example, if your nails feel hard and rigid, that is a sign; there is also a simple test that you can do to confirm that your artificial nails were made with MMA.

  1. Buff the shinny layer off your extended nails.
  2. Dip in 100% Acetone for 30 seconds.
  3. Look at the nail after 30 seconds. If the nail has not begun to break down, chances are you have MMA nails.

The risk of getting MMA nails is too high to ignore. Protect yourself by following these guidelines the next time you go for a manicure or pedicure: Look at containers that nail techs are using and see if they’re labeled with their contents, which could indicate whether it’s safe or not. Be wary about any salon that charges less than average prices because this might mean cheaper products like MMA are being used. Remember that professionals charge more to provide quality service and upkeep on equipment. Although it is always fun to get a new set of nails done, it is up to you to protect yourself from the severe nails damage that MMA can cause