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Is Gel Manicure Dangerous? What You Should Know

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Photo: Pressedbycharlotte | Instagram

We all want to look good in every way possible. And gel manicure is one of the things we do to make ourselves look more beautiful.

They just don’t make us look good but they also project an image of class and respect. Gel manicures are preferable because it saves time and dries up quickly.

As amazing as gel manicures are, there is a downside—nail brittleness, peeling, cracking, an increased risk for skin cancer, and early skin ageing on the hands.

Let’s break things down into bits. To start with;

What is a Gel Manicure?

A gel manicure is a type of nail improvement that uses a gel-based polish and requires a UV or LED light to cure the polish and lock it onto your nails. They last longer than the regular polish without chipping or peeling.

While gel manicures look just like your regular old mani, the added benefits are that they last longer, are super shiny, and feel sturdier. Plus, the beauty of a gel manicure is that anyone can get one, whether your nails are super short or Kylie Jenner-long.

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What are the side effects of Gel Manicures?

  1. Nail Damage: The gel polish remover process can damage the nails, making them weak, thin, and brittle.
  2. Nail Deformation: If the gel polish is applied to the nails for a long time without removing them, it can cause deformation of the nails. In addition, when not applied correctly, the gel polish can cause the nails to become brittle, discoloured, or even misshapen.
  3. UV Exposure: Many salons use nail-drying lamps that emit ultraviolet (UV) rays, the very same rays you catch outside from the sun—and from indoor tanning beds. UV rays can increase the risk of premature ageing and skin cancer.
  4. Allergic Reactions: Some people may be allergic to the ingredients in gel polish, which can cause redness, itching, and swelling of the skin.

What are the Health & Safety Measures For Gel Manures?

The good news is, that doesn’t mean you should never get a gel manicure. Before your next gel manicure, you might want to adopt these precautions to protect your skin and make the process a little bit safer. Here are some safety practices;

  1. Don’t Get Gel Manicures Too Often: Yes, we want to look beautiful all the time. But it is not proper to get gel manicures done all the time. You should try to go one to two weeks without wearing nail polish, as this gives your nails time to (heal.) strengthen, repair, and rehydrate.
  2. UV Light Safety: UV lamps should be kept clean and in good working condition to minimize the risk of skin damage.
  3. Gel Solish Should be Removed Properly: It is best to visit a professional for the safe removal of gel nails. The removal process is the most common time to experience nail damage, so it is important for nail health to do this correctly. The removal process involves soaking the fingertips in acetone for around 15 minutes.
  4. Use Sunscreen: Sunscreen can reduce your UV exposure. Lather up your hands before a gel manicure with broad-spectrum—covering both UVA and UVB light—sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50. Also,  make sure the sunscreen is water resistant as well, in case you need to rinse your hands during the manicure
  5. Eye Protection: Clients and staff should wear protective eyewear to shield their eyes from the UV light used to cure the gel polish.
  6. Proper Training: Staff should be properly trained in the use of UV lamps and the application and removal of gel polish to minimize the risk of injury or damage. So, make sure you are getting your nails done by someone who has proper training.
  7. Avoid Gel Manicures if You’re Sensitive to UV Rays: You might want to stay away from gel if you know you’re super sensitive to UV light. As noted by Health, certain medications, including antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and cholesterol medications, can make you extra sensitive to UV rays. Certain cosmetics, fragrances, medications, and skin care products can also make you more sensitive to UV rays. So it’s best to avoid those products prior to getting your nails done.
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Photo: Nah.nailz | Instagram

Alternatives to Gel Manicures

  • Using regular nail polish
  • Home manicure using nontoxic nail polish
  • Shellac manicure
  • Dip powder manicure
  • Gel nail extensions
  • Wrap nails
  • Press-on nails
  • Nail stickers

Summary

Gel nails are durable, long-lasting, and scratch-resistant. However, the chemicals and removal process can be damaging for some people. Gel polish should be professionally removed, and should not be done regularly so as to allow the nails to heal.

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