My mom is just raving about her gel manicures the other day.
She was saying how it still hasn’t chipped since she had them done a few weeks ago. I answered, you should definitely stop getting gel mani-pedis. Aren’t those harsh on the nails?
But to tell you honestly, I didn’t know. However, I’ve heard a lot of people say the same thing – that gel manicures are torture on the nails.
So I decided to do some research. I understand it’s not the same experience for everybody, but the question still remains. Are gel manicures really that much worse than regular polish, or is it just hearsay?
There’s actually a difference between gels and regular polish.
Okay, so at least we’re not completely wrong . The main difference between gel technology and a regular nail polish is that although it applies like a traditional nail lacquer, the gel has a chemical composition that makes it harden or cure into a glossy finish with a UV light. This means it’s easier to dry, unlike regular nail lacquers.
But don’t be scared with the letters UV – the threat isn’t really as bad as you think.
Although gel manicures need exposure to UV lamps which can contribute to skin damage, don’t panic. There was a study that determined the skin cancer risk of these devices. It was found that even if you had a gel manicure every week, your chances of developing skin cancer would not be higher. However, more research still needs to be done.
Dermatologists recommend that anyone who is about to get a gel manicure should apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen 15 minutes before exposure to help avoid the fast-aging effects of UV light.
Some gels are manufactured more harmful than others.
Did you know that there are two different types of gels you can receive in salons? Well, there’s the soft gels and the hard gels. Hard gels are considered the traditional gels of the 1980’s. This is the type that can’t be wiped off that easily with acetone and need to be filed off, while soft gels are the newer ‘soak-off’ type that can be removed without aggressively scraping the nails. So now we know that hard gels are way more damaging than soft gels, but you have to know that even soak-off gels might still cause some issues from the 10-minute (or more!) acetone soak.
Still, all gel manicures can mess up your nails.
Hate to break it to you but according to my sources, it’s true. Gel manicures are really not all that great and healthy for your nails. There was a study by the Miami School of Medicine where they used ultrasound to show that that gel manicures cause nails to get thinner. It wasn’t really confirmed what exactly caused the thinning, but they believe that it’s most likely because of the acetone soak that’s needed to remove the gel, or the actual chemicals in the gel lacquers themselves. Experts believe that it may also be caused by improperly removing the gel polish.
But it’s not the end of the world!
I’m not saying that you definitely need to stop getting gel manicures forever, because manicures are fab! And whatever you think makes you beautiful, I fully support you.
But if you are a little worried about the possible damage that the process may do to your nails, there are a few things you can try to mitigate the effects. Before the manicure, ask how the product will be removed, and ask them not use a worn out gritty file, sander, or other tool to harshly scrape the product off.
If you have experienced getting gel mani-pedi’s please share below!
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