CIDESCO, the world standard for Beauty and Spa Therapy, discusses the use of Methyl Methacrylate in salons… 


The use of Methyl Methacrylate in Australian salons has long been the subject of serious debate in the beauty industry – some demonise the use of the chemical while others argue it can be used safely. In a recent article on the importance of product safety, CIDESCO has made their stance on the issue abundantly clear.

Methyl Methacrylate (MMA)

MMA is a chemical used not only in the beauty industry, but also in dentistry and medicine, and although it has been banned in the US by the FDA, it is still being used is salons around the world including Australia. According to CIDESCO, this is something that needs to change.

Concerns with MMA

“MMA does not dissolve in acetone and is therefore difficult to remove. The nails are either pried off the natural nail or electric drills are used for removal. MMA products tend to discolour and become brittle, leading to severe nail damage,” says CIDESCO lecturer, Amanda Schooling.

MMA can absorb into the skin risking severe allergic reactions

“MMA products do not adhere well to the nail plate, causing thinning and weakening of the nail and MMA has a small molecular size and therefore can absorb into the skin risking severe allergic reactions”.

The alternative

While CIDESCO advises MMA should be avoided during manicures, “Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA) is safe for use on natural nails and far less likely to cause allergic reactions,” says Schooling.

EMA is far less likely to cause allergic reactions

Keep in mind that like many salon chemicals, prolonged or repeated contact can lead to irritation or an allergic reaction.

To help prevent this occurrence “the product is applied on to the nail and not the surrounding skin, and to prevent inhalation, the salon must be a well-ventilated area”, explains Schooling

Education is key

Schooling emphasises “quality education is vital for a nail technologist. They must be aware of the chemical structure of the product they have chosen to work with. Proper training and the teaching of safe and hygienic work practices will help prevent overexposure from products.”

What should salons do?

Salon safety is not only important for nail technicians and clients, but it also presents a positive salon image. There are some simple, but effective steps you can take to keep your salon safe:

  • Ensure nail technicians are qualified and well trained
  • Sterilise all tools after each client
  • Replace non-sterilisable tools after each client
  • Clean manicure station after each client
  • Keep salon is well ventilated
  • Make informed product choices
  • Stay up to date on industry developments

For further information about CIDESCO visit

Have your say: Do you think MMA should be banned in Australian salons?