Do gel manicures damage your nails? At Bella Reina, we’ve always been into natural nails. A natural spa manicure cleans up the nails, cuticles and keeps them healthy. But Let’s look at some of the facts about the hybrid polish that appeared on the scene in 2009. Can it be healthy?
The Real Scoop on Gel Manicures
Gel polish is a hybrid mix of traditional nail polish and traditional gel. The traditional gel is what is used for nail extensions. Traditional gel by itself is harmful to the nails because it completely blocks the transfer of oxygen to the nail.
There are many different brands of gel polish used a gel manicure. Some take more effort to get off. The difference in the products is the blend ratio of nail polish to gel. When the gel ratio is higher, the product is harder to remove.
The harder finish may require extra soaking in 100% acetone, buffing and in some cases filing. In some of the nail studios and salons, a gel dip is used with the disguise that it is good for the nails. It’s not so much the gel, even though it blocks the oxygen completely; it is the removal process that is the most damaging. The more the nail is filed, the more the protein is thinned. At the spa, we’ve spent sometimes 30 minutes removing a non-Shellac gel manicure. This requires breaking the seal on the gel with a file before putting the acetone on the nail bed. That’s crazy!
In addition to the possible damage from the gel, there is also the ongoing discussion on the UV light used to “cure” the gel manicure. A couple of years ago, there were many implications that the lights were causing cancer. There’s not any evidence documented that the UV lights actually cause cancer. The actual levels of UV light used in the dryers are very, very low. This still needs to be addressed as your health is dependent on your skin not photoaging.
How to Get a Safe Gel Manicure
- Have a CND Shellac Gel Manicure. This brand, which uses a patented technology has created a polish that is more like a traditional nail polish with a touch of gel. There is just enough to make a strong bond to the natural nail. The polish is still pliable enough to remove easily. Because of that, it is easier to remove. The Shellac system is also porous, so that the nail bed is not completely blocked. Other goodies on Shellac as it is Formaldehyde-Free, Toluene-Free and DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate)-Free.
- Don’t Peel Your Gel Manicure. The biggest damage to the nails that we see is from “you” peeling off the gel layer. Don’t pick or peel or file, please! This can thin the nail causing peeling of the nail and damage to the nail plate.
- Use a Sunscreen or Gloves for UV Protection. Because you can never be too careful from UV damage, use a sunscreen while your hand is in the UV lamp. The other option is to use the hand finger-less gloves. We love using the keratin hand gloves for our Shellac Gel Manicures and snipping the fingers. The glove stays on while we polish, protecting the hands from UV damage and you get hand treatment at the same time!
- Only Wrap the Nails with Acetone. Don’t dip your whole hand in acetone. It can cause irritation to the skin. Use the wraps that have the acetone or cotton that only touches the nails and not the skin.
- Don’t Try To Make It Last Longer Than 14 Days. Here’s the scoop. We know you like to save money, but the Shellac Gel Manicure adhesion will increase if you try to extend past the 14 day recommended re-application. This will make it harder to remove, which means more acetone, which is more damage.
- Use Cuticle Oil Daily. The Shellac system recommends using Solar Oil daily to keep the cuticles and nails moisturized. We can tell the clients that don’t do it daily. The nails are drier. The oil goes through the porous gel manicure and nourishes the nail bed. This moisture goes a long way in keep the nails in great condition. The other cuticle oil that works really well for this is by Zoya Qtica Solid Gold Cuticle Oil Gel. Because it is a gel, it stays where you put it.
- Give Your Nails a Break from the Gel Manicure. Every 2 -3 months, skip your re-application and have a classic manicure with a hand treatment instead. This allows you to make sure that there is not any damage to the nail bed. Plus, your nails don’t become dry, oxygen gets to the nail, and the nails get some time to breathe. The other option is to have a Vinylux Manicure that dries very fast and lasts 7 days.
Gel manicures are here to stay. Bella girls love them. They love the long-lasting wear and the shine. For your #bellahealth, follow the 7 safe tips above.