Gel manicures have been growing in popularity in recent years - mainly because they are long lasting.
A gel manicure can continue to look good two to three times longer than a regular one (up to four weeks), with your nails keeping their color and a chip-free finish until removed.
What could look more appealing on your Instagram image
than your freshly applied gel manicure?
But are they a harmless and routine beauty aid - or something more sinister?
We find out more
- When having a gel manicure, the nails sit beneath an ultraviolet (UV) light while the process takes place to help the gel dry faster. Monthly manicures means being regularly exposed to (UV) radiation. The UVA light from the nail lamps is stronger than the usual exposure received from the sun.
- Even regular nail polish can contain dozens of chemicals (including the toxic five) and are part and parcel of a largely unregulated industry. All of these chemicals can be absorbed into our bodies through the nail bed. And the labels on some nail products can be deliberately misleading. Unfortunately, many chemicals (including those known as endocrine disruptors) have shown adverse effects even at very low doses – especially on moms-to-be and young children.
- Gels have to be removed by soaking in acetone for at least ten minutes, while polishes can be easily wiped away with nail polish remover.
- Whether you apply gel or traditional polish, both can weaken your natural nails. The manicure process can lead to dehydration and thinning of the nail plate.
- When covered by gel, you cannot see what is going on in your nails, perhaps missing infections and more. In addition, the thick, armor-like coating of polish also blocks nails from being able to transfer oxygen.
- When the color begins to lift, the temptation is there to pick at it like a scab. As peeling and lifting begin, water can seep into the nail - harboring bacterial and even causing nail fungus. If a coating of gel is ripped off, it will probably take some layers of the nail with it. Such damage can take over six months to repair.
What if you feel a gel manicure is not worth the risk?
One alternative is nail buffing
. This can create an attractive and smooth sheen to your nails while helping your nails grow stronger and longer because of increased circulation.
If you find it difficult to live without a gel manicure or nail polish, give your nails a rest from time to time and use that break for nail buffing instead. We also share some tips on how to look after your nails.
Your hands and your nails need love and hydration. What could be better than our own Simply Hand Oil?