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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

I’ve been getting manicures and pedicures for as long as I can remember, but I‘ve rarely ever thought about the effect that it has on my nails. After seeing a post about dip manicures possibly being safer than gel manicures, I decided to do a little research and find out for myself. The results are actually not at all what I expected!

I usually go for a gel manicure because it lasts longer than regular polish and does not chip very much. The worst thing about the gel manicure, from my experience, has been fighting the urge not to pick it off. It is satisfying to pick off because it flakes off more evenly than regular polish. Unfortunately, according to purewow.com, the worst effect that a gel manicure has on your nails is gel makes them weaker when you pick it off. They may also become weaker when you soak them off with acetone, which is how you are supposed to remove it, but that effect is not as bad. The second thing that I found out about gel manicures is that since a UV light is required to attach the polish to the nail, your hands are at risk for skin cancer. Don’t freak out, though! According to Healthline.com, the chance of getting skin cancer from a gel manicure is minimal. But, if you are freaked out, wear opaque black gloves with open fingertips while getting your gel manicure. 

valentine nails

After reading about gel manicures, I decided to see if dip manicures were healthier for your nails. According to huffpost.com, the worst thing about dip manicures is the possibility of getting a bacterial infection. How, you ask? Germs and bacteria can spread from one person’s nails to another if the same dip powder is used for every client. Some salons will dip everyone’s nails into the same container instead of pouring the powder into separate, smaller containers. This can easily spread bacteria from one client to the next. Secondly, the base that salons use for a dip manicure could also cause harmful reactions for some people. These reactions could include swelling, blistering and/or the nail separating from the nail bed. Again, these reactions are rare, but it is good to know the possibilities before choosing a manicure!

The common factor between these two types of manicures is that the acetone used to remove the polish will make your nails thinner and more brittle, which can lead to breakage and discomfort. To avoid or help with the thinning, you can buy cuticle oil and apply it nightly. Cuticle oil can help to strengthen nails, as well as keep them moisturized and healthy. I definitely plan on incorporating cuticle oil into my nightly routine! 

Overall, both of these popular types of manicures pose possible nail and/or skin problems, but they are typically rare and treatable. Make sure the salon you choose is clean and practicing safe methods (i.e. not using the same dip container for everyone) and you should be fine!

Kristen is a senior with a major in Elementary School Education. She loves to read, camp, and hang out with her two dogs and awesome husband.
Keziah is a writer for Her Campus. She is majoring in Fashion Design with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. HCXO!