The Hidden Dangers of Gel Manicure
We’ve all been there before - fresh out of a manicure and within a few hours, we’ve chipped the polish from our nails. For this very reason, I’ve avoided painting my nails for years. Then one day, I was feeling festive and opted in to polish.
The nail technician, knowing my aversion to polish, suggested I try a gel manicure for a longer lasting finish. The technician informed me that this manicure was slightly more expensive but would last up to two weeks, so I agreed to it. However, itwas what the technician didn't tell me that was the problem.
..it’s what the technician didn’t tell me that was the problem.
The manicure begins innocently enough with the exfoliating of the hands, filing and shaping of the nails, and tending to the cuticles. Then, the gel manicure process begins. Consisting of first scoring the nails with a file, the technician then begins the application of four to five coats of special nail polish that requires approximately six minutes under a UV light (similar to the lights used in tanning beds, but weaker) between each coat. The process is lengthy and tedious, but in the end, you are left with beautiful nails that are destined to last until your next manicure.
While my nails were beautifully polished, my hands were left dry and itchy from the exposure to the UV light. Upon further research post appointment, I learned that sunscreen should be used prior to going under the light. Prolonged exposure to this light, as with any artificial UV light or sunlight, can lead to sunspots and premature aging of the hands. Yep, they left that little tidbit out.
Have I mentioned that you really can’t get this stuff off? When asked about the removal of the polish, the technician said it could be removed as you would remove regular polish. So not true! To remove the polish, you must soak your fingers in acetone for 20+ minutes and then scrape and peel the polish off. But even that really doesn’t work. Right now, I have some residue and polish left on every single one of my nails, on top of them being rough from the scoring process. I am thoroughly embarrassed for them to be seen. Now I am hoping they just grow out quickly so I can rid myself of this painful reminder of the gel manicure. Word to the wise: don’t give in to the promise of long-lasting polish. It simply isn’t worth it.