Nail Spa Creations

Lovely Nails in the Melbourne Bayside Area

Acrylic, Pedicure & MMA Info

Don't you find it funny how people are so particular when it comes to who touches their hair, but when it comes to Acrylic Nails and Pedicures people let anyone touch them.

Do you know for a fact whether your nail technician is Fully Qualified with a Government Accredited Certificate? You wouldn't let an unqualified hairdresser go near your hair...So why do we let people who are not fully trained touch our skin and nails?

There are so many horror stories about clients who have had a pedicure and have received an infection or have been cut by the blade that gets rid of dead skin. Also that acrylic nail clients have had to go for months with damaged nails from poor workmanship or have had an infection from unsanitised tools. I myself have heard many bad experiences from my clients before they found me.

I myself have spent thousands of $$ on training and knowledge to keep my standards high and want to see this industry rise to a higher standard. So here is some information to make you aware of what is happening out there so that you can make a wiser choice next time you see a nail technician for a service.

Acrylic Facts

The Truth about Acrylics

Acrylic Nails are the most common form of nail enhancements in the salon due to their ease of use, strength and durability.

Acrylics are safe and non-damaging to the natural nail plate when applied, maintained and removed by a qualified Nail Technician using proper techniques.

You may hear people say, "Having Acrylic nails really damaged my natural nails... My natural nails were so sensitive and weak when they were removed..."

This damage can be caused by any of the following:

A nail tech that uses a file or drill that is too coarse for the natural nail, this removes layers of the nail plate resulting in a sensitive and thin natural nail.

A nail tech that misuses 'primer' - a bonding agent used with acrylics, this can cause sensitivity if exposed to the surrounding skin (burning sensations) and possibly allergic reactions.

A salon that uses MMA liquid monomer instead of approved EMA liquid monomer when doing acrylics, this can cause several possible complications.

When a nail tech removes the artificial product by mechanically forcing it from the natural nail using a pair of acrylic nippers, this unnecessarily removes layers of the nail plate, leaving the natural nail sensitive and thin.

What is MMA???

WHY MMA (Methylmethacrylate) should not be used:
MMA is solvent resistant - MMA does not soak off easily or in a reasonable length of time, causing undue exposure to acetone while soaking. Some will simply RIP the nails off or pry them off causing extreme damage to the natural nail plate. If a weakened nail plate or damaged nail plate is already present, (normal is when MMA is used) the exposure problems while soaking off MMA become a larger concern, not to mention the ill effects and pain of ripping off the enhancements. EMA should take about 30 minutes or less to soak off, while MMA will take more than an hour to remove by soaking in acetone.
To remove, or maintain an MMA enhancement, a drill (electric file or e-file as we call it) will most often be used. E-files, used by a technician who has been fully trained, are not dangerous or harmful to the natural nail plate. However, many who use this tool are untrained and have been known to cause excessive damage to the nail plate - rings of fire - by drilling into the nail plate, sometimes THROUGH the nail plate into the nail bed (sometimes this causes permanent damage). Additionally, when a nail enhancement of MMA is banged or knocked, it has little to no flexibility and will break severely, often taking the nail plate with it. EMA is formulated to be flexible, the enhancement will break, sometimes the nail, but not usually damage the nail plate.

Poor adhesion - To make MMA adhere well to the nail, overly rough preparation methods are used. The nail plate is "roughed up" with a coarse file, creating in effect, a shag carpet look to the nail plate, giving the MMA something to adhere to. This process thins and weakens the nail plate allowing more chemicals to be absorbed through the weakened nail plate during application and curing time. All acrylic enhancements, while hard enough to file in 1-4 minutes, continue to cure for as long as 36-48 hours after application.

The FDA (Food & Drug Administration in the USA), as far back as early 1970's, has stated and still states that MMA is a poisonous and deleterious substance and should not be used in liquid acrylic monomer for nail products.

Warning signs of MMA use:
Here are some signs that your acrylic nails may contain MMA:
• MMA has an unusually strong or strange odor which doesn't smell like other acrylic liquids. Odor is present during application and when
   filing cured product (for fill-ins or repairs).
• Enhancements which are extremely hard and very difficult to file even with coarse abrasives.
• Enhancements take a very long time to soak off in solvents designed to remove acrylics.
• Cloudy or milky color when cured.

Additional warning signs though less definitive:
• Low price of fills and full sets (MMA cost 1/3 of EMA)
Techs or management that are secretive about brands used. Just because they have a name brand polish in the salon does not mean they are using that 
   brand of acrylic. ASK to see original containers!
• Technicians often wear masks to prevent inhalation of the powerful distinct odor- noxious, sharp and fruity
(although many technicians use dust
   masks today who do not use MMA)

• You experience headaches and a runny nose when you visit the salon

What’s the difference between EMA and MMA?
First, only three atoms distinguish the difference between EMA and MMA. However, this small chemical difference makes EMA much safer. An example is the difference between poisonous wood alcohol (methanol) and beverage alcohol (ethanol). Again the difference between the two molecules is only three atoms. Yet wood alcohol is deadly if consumed. Beverage alcohol is considered safe (if not used in excess!).

Another difference, and one that is most relative to consumers, is PRICE. MMA is much less expensive (about 1/16th the cost!), compared to EMA - this may explain the difference in prices at different salons.

Is EMA really safe?
You will be happy to know that ethyl methacrylate is one of the most studied monomers on Earth. There is a huge amount of scientific literature that backs up the safety of this important substance. It is used in everything from household plastics to medical devices that are implanted in the body.

Make Sure You Find a Qualified Technician
Manicure services should NOT be painful. If the technician is causing you ANY pain, seek out another more qualified technician immediately, DO NOT allow the technician to continue the service. Report a complaint and submit it promptly with photos if possible.
The salons that usually cause a problem are usually lacking or one that follows poor sanitation practices, uses inferior and/or prohibited products, and under trained or non-qualified technicians.

For more information on MMA or what to look for when trying find a qualified nail technician, please visit

Links to MMA Info

Information Articles about MMA outside the USA
There are a few articles about this problem from New Zealand which is quite close to us...

Pedicure Articles to make you aware.