Gel manicures look outstanding, don’t they? Just like with acrylic nails that were popular when I was in high school and college, there are things to know about the gel version that will help you decide whether they are right for you. After many years of hitting the salon every couple of weeks for a nail job, I now go with a natural look that I do myself at home. Shorter nails are just more practical with a job that requires constant typing as well as being better when it comes to caring for my three kids. That doesn’t mean I don’t covet the gel manicure though. If you’re considering one, here’s what you need to know.
1. Longer Wearing
Many women choose a gel manicure because they last longer than other types. That means you won’t have to have a redo or a new nail polish job as often. If you work with your hands or wash them a lot, a gel manicure makes more sense. That way, you can show off a fabulous manicure even when life gets crazy.
2. Cuticle Dryness
While a longer wearing manicure might sound heavenly, the extended wear of the gels do pose risks to your cuticles. Because they hang out there on your natural nail for so long, they can cause dryness in your cuticle. Fortunately, you can counteract this by taking good care of your gels. Experts suggest rubbing a good quality cuticle oil in every single day. It might sound like a lot of work, but it’s so worth it.
3. UV Light
I cringe to think of all the time I spend with my hands in a nail machine to dry the polish fast. When a gel manicure is set, your fingers are exposed to UV rays that can lead to skin cancer. The more often you’re exposed, the higher your risk. If you have a family or personal history of skin cancer, it’s probably a good idea to avoid sticking your hands into one of the dryers. Better safe than sorry, right?
4. Chemical Exposure
This is a double risk. As you have your gel manicure done, you breathe in the chemicals in the materials used to create the look. There’s a reason why so many nail techs wear a mask! At the same time, the extended wear of the gels allow some chemicals to soak into your nails, which can cause dryness, brittle nails and other problems.
5. Underlying Health Issues
There’s no question that gel manicures look fantastic. However, if you always have gels on your nails, it can be hard to detect possible issues. That includes melanomas growing under your nails, fungal infections and other issues. Experts suggest taking occasional breaks from wearing gels so you can monitor the health of your nails and the skin underneath them.
Because your fingernails are attached to your fingers, it’s pretty hard to avoid contact with the materials used to create a gel manicure. Some of those things can cause skin irritation. Make sure you wash up as soon as possible after your manicure to remove anything that might cause a reaction.
I can remember how terrible my nails always looked after having my acrylics removed. Gels can cause similar problems. Experts say the best way to remove gels is to soak the nail in acetone until it can be lifted from your natural nail. Popping or cutting the nails off will sometimes take a couple layers of your real nail with it. That can lead to brittleness and breaking.
Do you get gel manicures? What other tips do you have to share with everyone?