The Pros and Cons of A Gel Manicure

Over the past few years, the idea of having a gel manicure has become more and more prevalent in our society. Children, teenagers, and adults alike have taken part in this fad… but is this a good or a bad thing? Keep reading to unveil the true pros and cons of this up-to-the-minute look!

Pro: Long LastingThe obvious plus of this treatment is its long lasting feature. Gel manicures are said to last up at least twice the length as a regular manicure, under normal living conditions. It is more difficult for this polish to chip due to the use of UV light, or other forms of technology.

Con: ExpensiveWhen compared to a typical mani (usually between $10-$15), the gel manicure could cost upwards of $50+ dollars depending on the salon.

Pro: Quick Drying TimeFor anyone who goes to the salon in a rush, the gel mani might be perfect. The preparation and painting process of the nails is around the same time as a standard manicure, but the drying time is exponentially quicker. Sometimes, drying your nails could take around a half hour! The UV light makes drying nails quick (around 2 minutes per coat), and definitely efficient.

Con: UV RaysThe pros of smudge-free, long lasting, gorgeous nails come with some sort of string attached. The UV lights salons use can cause the skin on the hands to age, and could potentially lead to the development of skin-cancer cells.

Pro: No smudgesBesides the fact that this manicure will be dry before your very eyes, it will be entirely smudge free. Once the light hardens the nail polish, there is no turning back. Regular manicures run the risk of smudging the second you step out of the salon. Sadly, it’s happened to the best of us.

Con: The Removal ProcessBesides the risks of cancer, the removal process poses other issues to hand health. The chemical ‘acetone’ has been used to remove nail polish for decades now, but has become more and more harmful to our skin over the years. In order to remove the gel nail polish that is literally stuck, the nail must be soaked for a minimum of 10 minutes in acetone to break down the thick polish. After the nail polish is soaked and wrapped, the remainder of the nail polish must be either filed or chipped off of the nail. This process can cause the nail to thin by 50%, said dermatologist Dr. Anne Chapas in an interview with Dr. Oz.

Pro: Can Lengthen Short NailsStudies have shown that women who wear nail polish, especially gel nail polish, tend to have faster growth rates for their nails. Gel manicures prevent women from biting their nails, cutting their nails, and help prevent against the breakage of the nail.

Below is a list of tips for getting a gel manicure, offered by Dr. Chris Adigun, dermatologist at the American Academy of Dermatology.

  • Pay attention to your nails and allow them to regrow and repair. Consider getting gel manicures only occasionally to decrease the risk of problems.
  • When getting gel manicures, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen on your hands to minimize damage caused by exposure to UV light during the curing process.
  • Tell the manicurist not to push or manipulate the cuticle because that will increase the risk of inflammation and infection and also dry out the nail.
  • Use traditional nail polish instead of gel nail polish if you have recurring nail problems, or if you have an allergy to acetone, which is used to remove gel manicures.
  • Rehydrate your nails several times a day with a moisturizing product, such as petroleum jelly, to combat brittleness, thinning and chipping.
  • When removing gel nail polish, do not chip it with other nails or tools.
  • Soak only the nails, not the whole hand or fingers, in acetone while nail polish is being removed. This will help prevent skin irritation. If you get gel manicures frequently, consider buying finger wraps that expose only the nails and protect surrounding skin.
  • If you notice any unusual changes to the nails, see a dermatologist.