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Thinking about getting that glossy gel manicure that leaves your nails beautifully chip-free? Think again. Sure, it seems like a smart alternative to paying for a manicure that may chip the next day, but the damage may be greater than traditional nail polish plus top coat.
For the novice gel manicure customers, it might be a good idea to do your research in order to be more knowledgeable about gel, what it does to your nails and how you can minimize the damage. This will put you in control of your beauty regimen. You don’t want to be the person who starts obsessively chipping away at the gel polish, only to find that the gel has become stuck to your nail bed.
The crucial step of the gel manicure process requires UV radiation from a LED lamp to give the nails a glossy finish. This lamp also helps the polish set and harden. But did you know that frequent exposure to this light frequency can cause DNA damage and may result in aging and a risk for cancer? Naturally, women who regularly get gel polish are put at a higher risk.
Chris Adigun, an assistant Professor of Dermatology at New York University School of Medicine, tells WebMD that this risk is rather low but is still something to think about for regular gel users. Also, be careful when trying to attain the perfect at-home gel manicure. At-home lamps are not as powerful as salon ones, which means your nails will have to spend more time under them, thus increasing the likelihood of aging. A tip, Adigun adds, might be to rub sunscreen on the finger tips before gel application.
The problem that poses the greatest risk, however, is nail thinning. One study found that nail plates get significantly thinner after gel removal. It is recommended that you remove a layer of gel with nail polish remover before going to the salon for removal. Doing this will help minimize nail bed damage.
Julie Kandalec, creative director of Paintbox nail studio in NY, offered WebMD tips for their gel-loving readers to optimize their nail health while enjoying fabulous nail designs. She advises manicure fans to use cuticle oil every day while wearing the gel polish to prevent peeling. During removal, it is best to roughen the top of the nail with a file so that the gel remover can clean it off thoroughly.
Treating yourself to beautiful, long-lasting nails every now and then is all right, but Dr. Adigun advises to wait a couple of weeks after removal before getting another gel manicure. Give your nails a healthy break from all chemicals and apply lotion or oil your nails to hydrate your nail beds and the skin around it. Getting the occasional gel manicure doesn’t mean you’ll get permanent nail damage, but always prioritize the health of your nails first before taking the gel manicure plunge.