Is my gel manicure damaging my nails?

Gel manicures are not only dangerous, but they can also expose your nails to potentially hazardous procedures like scraping and sanding. We spoke to the experts to find out what to do before you visit your local salon.

It’s easy for your day to become cluttered with tasks. Rituals can help you get rid of the stress and make your life easier. Most rituals are good for you (like the afternoon matcha tea, which boosts your energy and provides tons of antioxidants), but some might be more beneficial for your day planner than your health. For example, your gel manicure.

They are hard to resist. For those who love the look of lacquered nails, and don’t mind chipping, perfectly shaped and polished nails are irresistible. Gel manis can pose health risks, just like any other beauty treatment. You might be wondering if you should get them done every few months or if you should do it back-to-back.

We reached out to Kristen Gale, creator of THE TEN SPOT(r), and Dr. Lisa Kellett, a certified dermatologist, to answer your questions.

First, gel, shellac and bio gel–what is the difference?

Gale says Gel is a type and Shellac a brand. Gale says that a typical fake nail with gel polish would be a Hard Gel or Bio Gel extension. We don’t have these products at THE TEN SPOT(r). Shellac and OPI gel polishes are also known as “soak off”. They can be applied directly to natural nails.

What side effects can a gel manicure have?

Gel manicures can cause thinner nails which can lead to them breaking more easily. We have seen this happen and we know why. Dr. Kellett says that gel manicures can cause permanent and sometimes temporary damage to the nail plate, surrounding skin, and possibly infections and allergic reactions. It is important to be aware of the condition of your nails to prevent any damage.

Gale recommends that you mention any concerns to your esthetic specialist if you are considering back-toback treatments. If your nails aren’t in a good condition, make sure you go to a salon with a trusted manicurist.

Do you know of any studies showing that the light that hardens polish can cause premature aging, skin cancer, and sunspots?

Dr. Kellett says that while certain polishes used UV lamps at one time, they are no longer required. Today, professional salons use LED lighting, which is safer and doesn’t pose any risks.

What can I do to keep my nails strong and healthy between gel manicures?

Your manicure will last longer if you keep your nails healthy by moisturizing them and your surrounding skin. Make sure you do it correctly when it comes to removing the polish. Do you pick or peel at your nails? Gale says that you could be damaging your nails if you remove the top layer of the nail and the polish.

Gale says it is best to have gel manicures professionally removed. If your nails feel thin, brittle or breaking a lot, you can apply a nail strengthener and conditioner. Gale recommends Nail Tek.

What makes my nails hurt if I don’t have nail polish?

You may feel a dull sensation on your unpolished nails if you are used to polishing your nails all the time. This could be a minor problem, or it could be something more serious. Dr. Kellett says that nail pain or swelling can indicate a medical problem. Consultation with a dermatologist is a must as nail changes can be a sign of systemic diseases.

What happens if my nails get irritated during polish removal?

A Dremel tool is possible to remove Bio Gel polish. However, it can damage the nail plate if you buff too hard. It is not uncommon to need light buffing or scraping to remove soak-off varieties, but this shouldn’t cause any discomfort. It could indicate that your nails are thin. Gale suggests that you let your manicurist know that it is painful so they can offer more gentle treatment. This is a signal to take a break from gel manicures and apply a few coats nail strengthener over the next few weeks.

Is there an at home polish that has a gel-like effect and is gentle on the nails?

Gale loves the Essie gel couture collection. Gale says, “We know, it’s gel-sounding, but it isn’t!” It’s a quick-drying option that has gel-like durability but is just as easy to apply as regular polish.

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