Salon Savvy: The Dangers of Gel Manicures

Long gone are the days of the full set. Now, it’s all about the gel manicure to keep finger tips looking fresh and fabulous. From the stunning shine of gel to its oh-so-convenient zero dry time, there are a million and one reasons to opt for this style of mani over the outdated acrylic full set. Or is there?

Like many things in life, gel manicures have their drawbacks. Frequent gel manicures carry the risk of nail thinning, peeling, cracking and brittleness, among others.

“In general, any manicure left in place for an extended period of time is not a good idea because you are not seeing what is going on underneath the nail polish,” Dr. Chris Adigun, an assistant professor of dermatology at New York City’s New York University School of Medicine said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release.

“As is the case with most things, moderation is the key when it comes to gel manicures,” she said.

It’s not quite clear what causes the harsh effects of gel manicures. Acentone used to remove the polish dries and irritates nails and the skin surrounding, which may be the culprit. UV light used to cure the formula also increases the risk of skin cancer, another scary consequence of too many gel manis.

To refrain from polish permanently would be impractical, but it’s important to give nails a breather once in a while. Constantly piling polish on nails can hide problems that may spell trouble further on down the road. Infections and tumors can easily be disguised by polish, so pay attention to your skin.

Another potential problem is that nails continually covered in polish hide any problems occurring under the nail, such as an infection or tumor. This could delay diagnosis and treatment, she said.

To enjoy the perks of gel manicures with minimal risk, follow these easy steps:

Use sunscreen before exposing hands to UV light at the salon.

Ask your manicurist to avoid pushing or cutting the cuticle. This can lead to infection and inflammation.

Moisturize nails and surrounding skin each day with petroleum jelly or other hydrating product.

Remove gel polish appropriately. Do not scrape or chip off.



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