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January 1979

Allergic Contact Dermatitis to Sculptured Nails

Author Affiliations


From the Dermatology Service, Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, Lackland AFB, Tex.

Arch Dermatol. 1979;115(1):100. doi:10.1001/archderm.1979.04010010068024

Sculptured artificial nails are a popular method of improving the cosmetic appearance of natural nails. They are made by mixing a liquid monomer with a powder polymer and then molding this acrylic compound onto the natural nail. We have recently seen a patient with allergic contact dermatitis to ethyl methacrylate, the liquid monomer used in these artificial fingernails. The purpose of this article is to report a case in which ethyl methacrylate was the sensitizer in the nail, and to demonstrate cross-sensitivity to methyl and N-butyl methacrylate.

Report of a Case  A 50-year-old woman used artificial fingernails for 1 1/2 years because of nail fragility. This process involved the mixing of ethyl methacrylate monomer with acrylic polymers. For several months prior to being seen in the clinic, a paronychial and eyelid dermatitis (Figure) occurred two days after each new application of the nails.Using the aluminum patch test technique, the

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