Per the Nail Manufacturers Council on Safety:
“Certain services, such as filing or shaping artificial nail enhancements, can generate large amounts of dusts in the breathing zone of the salon worker. While performing nail services, disposable dust masks can be used to control and minimize inhalation of dusts. Clients are not likely to be exposed to excessive amounts of dusts, so masks are not recommended for them. Dust masks prevent the breathing of dust particles but cannot prevent the inhalation of vapors. Dust masks should never be used in place of proper three-part ventilation as described in the GUIDELINES FOR CONTROLLING AND MINIMIZING INHALATION EXPOSURE TO NAIL PRODUCTS.
Even so, when properly used, the correct mask can be an important way to prevent inhalation of excessive amounts of dust particles and is especially useful if you have pre-existing asthma, allergies, or other breathing related conditions. The best disposable masks are those approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Masks with “N95” ratings are the most effective for salon workers. To be effective, dust masks must fit well, be used properly and also disposed of regularly. Be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions when using these important tools. Masks without this rating, such as surgical masks, will not provide enough protection and should not be used in the salon setting. Surgical masks may help prevent the spread of germs but will not protect you from dusts.”