The latest scourge is an intolerance to gel nail polishes

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The latest scourge is an intolerance to gel nail polishes
The latest scourge is an intolerance to gel nail polishes

For the 11th time, the Bulgarian Dermatology Society organized and conducted a National Campaign for the diagnosis and prevention of skin allergic diseases. From November 25 to 29, 2019, free consultations and tests for the most common allergies were held in nine hospitals in six cities of the country

This year the campaign focused on occupational skin diseases and atopic dermatitis in children. The campaign also aims to create a database on the incidence of contact dermatitis, urticaria and atopic dermatitis.

Statistics are also made for the most frequent positive reactions to various allergens in children and adults, and these data are of great importance for the prevention of allergic skin diseases.

Over 3,000 patients were examined over ten years within the national campaign for diagnosis and prevention of skin allergic diseases, and 2,281 of them were tested for allergens.

Over 150 million Europeans suffer from chronic allergic diseases, it became clear at the launch of the campaign, which this year is under the motto "Your skin: the most important 2 m2 in your life".

Over 30% of the active population in the developed and developing countries of the world is affected by skin allergies. The incidence of atopic dermatitis and urticaria is increasing.

In 2025, half of the European population is expected to have allergic problems related to the lungs, ears, nose and throat, but most often to the skin. Atopic dermatitis in Bulgarian children has tripled its frequency - from 8% 40 years ago, to 20-30% now.

The reason lies in environmental pollution, in the huge collision with allergens and in the genetically damaged skin barrier in some children. They easily and quickly lose the hydration of their skin, which becomes extremely dry.

“Nickel is the 1 allergen in the world - announced Assoc. Prof. Zhana Kazandzhieva, chairman of the Dermatoallergology Section of the Bulgarian Dermatology Society.

- Positive reactions to this allergen are extremely high in Bulgaria as well - over 25%. The explanation for this is the continuous contact of people with this metal in everyday life - through the devices that surround us.

Among these devices were mobile phones, but now manufacturers are trying to clean their casings of nickel. But in their place come other metals, such as cob alt and chromium, which are also allergens. They are part of computers, mobile phones, jewelry, watches, pens.

The newest allergen, the sensitivity to which has recently become more frequent in Bulgaria as well, are acrylates.

He is allergic even to the insulin pumps that stick to the skin and deliver dosed insulin to the body. It turned out that the plastic of the insulin pumps contained acrylates.

But women who use acrylic nail polishes, the so-called gel polishes, have the most widespread contact with acrylates and the corresponding allergy at the moment. Manicurists are mostly allergic to them.

Early diagnosis and redirection to another profession is extremely important for them, explained Associate Professor Kazandzhieva.


Assoc. Zdravka Demerdzhieva reported new cases of allergy to the glue of artificial eyelashes. It manifests itself in severe edema and erythema of the eyelids.

Specialized help for hairdressers, beauticians and manicurists can be found at the University Skin Clinic in Pleven, announced Dr. Veronika Kincheva:

“For two years in our clinic, we have been working with special acrylate test series. They catch the allergens that are most often in contact with professionals in the field of cosmetics, hairdressing and manicure.

In the beginning, our invitation to test beauty salon workers was not met with enthusiasm. They said they had no problems. Some admitted to itchy skin but attributed it to the dusty environment. Finally, we did the testing and the results were impressive.

We have received many positive reactions to substances contained in the products that manicurists use when building a manicure with gel polishes and in the new hybrid polishes, which are baked in an ultraviolet or ice lamp for durability. All these products turned out to be rich in allergens that are very strong.

“We had a patient who was a medical student. It came with rashes and blisters on the tips of the fingers. The girl said that after getting a manicure, her symptoms were the worst. In two weeks, the rash subsides slightly, but when the new nail polish is applied, it gets even worse.

She was convinced that the rash was caused by the nail polish remover. After testing, there was no longer any doubt that it was an allergy to acrylates. However, the patient did not want to switch to another type of nail polish, and six months later she came to us in an even worse condition.

The blisters on her fingers were 1.5 cm in diameter

Even then she was prone to any treatment and to give up a nice manicure. While taking the history, we found out that her manicurist had similar symptoms.

And this was no accident, because all day this woman was exposed to strong allergens - she was filing artificial nails composed of acrylates and touching the solvents of these acrylates. When we tested her, she tested positive for 9 of all 43 allergens in the kit.

We recommended employment for her because in her case, continuing to work as a manicurist would have led to a deterioration in her he alth. Gloves are not a solution as there is no way to perform the fine manipulations of doing a manicure with gloves. In addition, with prolonged contact, acrylates pass through the gloves.

Therefore, this woman ceased to practice her previous profession”.

Assoc. Kazandzhieva added that with manicurists, rashes mainly affect the thumb, index and middle finger. While the clients have rashes on the neck and in the area around the eyelids.

Over the years, allergic reactions to perfume allergens, to hair dye and to rosin have increased in Bulgaria - continued Associate Professor Zhana Kazandzhieva. -

Potential allergens are 3700. In one of the leading places among them is the so-called Peruvian balsam. Before it was chemically synthesized and put into a huge number of products, it was mined in Ecuador, but due to lack of a port, it was exported through Peru. Hence the name Peruvian.

Peruvian balsam contains many resins, different aromas (vanilla, cloves, cinnamon) and, in fact, is a mixture of allergens.

The problem is that it is put into many spices, such as turmeric and ketchup. The bad thing is that Peruvian balsam is also used in some medicines and many cosmetic products.

In addition to avoiding them, the patient should learn to avoid all foods that contain vanilla, cloves, and cinnamon. The good thing is that this restriction is not for life. Detachment from allergens for 2 - 3 years in a large part of patients leads to a significant improvement in the condition.

After that, they can afford to return to these spices, albeit in small quantities, explained Associate Professor Kazandzhieva.

In 22nd place among allergens a year ago was the primrose flower. But after its genetic modification, it no longer contains the protein that caused the sensitization. Instead of primrose, the bee product propolis is now included as an allergen.