What is a Gel Manicure and How to Remove it without Harming the Nails?

Don’t you love to have shine on your nails that lasts real long? Gel nails are in fact the nails which undergo the gel manicure or pedicure treatments where the nails are applied with a gel polish that offers glow, shine and a kind of natural looking nails to you. However, there are also certain risks involved in this kind of gel manicure which can make you worry and make you think twice before going for a Gel manicure. So, this current article of ours will talk about the Gel manicure and its health risks on the nails along with few of the preventive measures to keep safe your nails from the dangers of this process.

What is a Gel Manicure and How to Remove it without Harming the Nails?

What is a Gel Manicure?

Gel manicure is a type of manicure treatment which makes use of a gel polish to apply on the nails for better, natural looking and shining nails. These gel polishes are similar to the regular nail polish to be applied with three coats, i.e. a base coat, a main coat and a top or the final coat. However, in Gel manicure technique the nails are exposed to Ultra-violet light after application of each gel nail coat, so as to dry the gel polish. This process is called as curing which lasts for about half a minute to one minute.

The removal process of the gel polish can be pretty worrisome; however can either be done at a salon or even at home with the help of acetone; which includes wrapping of the nails in acetone with a cotton ball soaked in acetone for loosening off the gel polish to help it peel of easily.

Types of Gels Used in Gel Manicure:

There are actually two types of gels used in the process of Gel manicure. They include:

  1. Hard Gels
  2. Soft Gels

Hard gels: These are named as hard gel because once they are cured, they get tough enough to be made in to a nail extension or the artificial nails developed by using a nail product for extending the nail past the edge of the original or the natural nail.

Soft gels: These are the gel products which are quite soft for creating a nail extension. The gel polishes and the thicker gels meant for gel overlay services are included under the category of soft gels.

It must be remembered that all kinds of gels used as gel polishes in gel manicure come in varied colors. So, you can have your colourful gel nails which look shiny and natural when done by the expert professionals at a nail care salon.

Nail Health Risks of Gel Manicure:

Here below, we will talk about the dangers or the nail health risks of Gel manicure.

  1. Dangers from UV Light Exposure while Drying the Gel Polish:

    • The most critical risk from Gel manicure is the danger from UV light exposure while the curing process. The Ultra-violet rays which fall on the nail or the skin in the hand can cause skin cancer.
    • Apart from the danger of skin cancer from the UV light exposure in Gel Manicure, there are also dangers of aging symptoms including the dark spots on the back of the hands. There are also chances that you may get wrinkles on the hands and the fingers with back-to-back gel manicure treatments.
      However, there are lesser risks involved in the Gel manicures which make use of the LED lamps for the curing process.
  2. Dangers from the Soaking-off process while removing the Polish:

    Again, the worry begins when you are to soak you hands in the acetone for 15 or 20 minutes in order to remove the gel polish off from your nails.

    • Soaking hands directly in the acetone wrapped in foil for 20 minutes can be real toxic. The nails get highly dehydrated when soaked with acetone for such a long time. There are chances that your nails get burnt of the damage.
    • There are also health risks from this soaking-off process when acetone enters your bloodstream.
    • There are also chances of nail trauma while scraping the nail plate in the process of removing the gel polish off your nails. When the foils come off; your manicurist would scrape the nail plate and this would require extra buffing causing more of the nail injury.

    However, as we know; there is always some solution to each problem. There are also some solutions to prevent the nails from getting damaged while the process of taking off the gels from the nails. We will get to know the easy ways to remove the polish from your nails in the later part of the article.

How to Prevent the Risks of Gel Manicure?

Now, it is clear that there are some risks to the nails involved with the Gel manicure technique. So, are you willing to keep away from it? Or would you love to know about some tricks to prevent the risks of Gel manicure? Well! Beauty can be natural and so can you! Still; if you want to try out something different with your nails via this gel manicure procedure then you surely need to know some of the preventive measures before undergoing this nail beauty treatment. Below are some tips to prevent the risks of Gel manicure.

  • You must note it down that there are nail salons which make use of LED lights instead of the UV lights. You need to confirm from the salon what type of nail lamp or the nail lights does it use. Ask for if there is an option of LED lamp in the salon and go for it.
  • In case you do not find such a salon with LED lights then make sure you are using a sunscreen lotion containing a UVA-blocker like the titanium oxide or the zinc oxide which can protect your nails from the UV rays in the salon. Apply a thick layer of the sunscreen for better protection.
    For protecting your hands and the nails from the UV lights, you can also wear a dark opaque gloves in your hands and cut off the fingertips
  • Take a break from the series of Gel manicures. Do not go for continuous gel nail treatments. In the meanwhile hydrate your nails the best you can.
  • There are also various “Gel-like” nail polishes available in the market having long-wear properties and offers good shine and natural look to the nails. You can replace the gel manicure process with this.
  • There are also the most recently developed “Miracle gels” which require no UV lights for drying. You can simply apply the nail colors to your nails and seal with the special topcoat. The natural light would create a tight bond between the two layers and get you the miracle gel nails that go great for about two weeks. The best part here is you won’t even require acetone soaking for removing the gel nail color. It can be removed with the regular nail polish remover. That’s definitely a miracle.

How to Remove Gel Manicure without Harming the Nails?

“It looked pretty amazing! But taking it off involves too much of worrying.” Isn’t it? Gel nails are beautiful to look at. But Gel Manicure definitely becomes too much of a troubling stuff when it’s the time to remove them off. Well! Actually they are not so much! Here we will talk about the ways to take off the gel polishes from your nails without harming the nails. Remove your gel nail polishes painlessly by following the steps mentioned below.

  • Moisturize your nails with cuticle oil: Make a note to use cuticle oil on your hands and nails everyday while you are wearing the gel nail polish. The oil actually aids in keeping your nails flexible and protects your nails from peeling away while removing the gel nail polish.
  • File your nails first: In order to allow the polish remover get inside thoroughly, be sure to rough up the top if the gel polish with a fine-grit nail file.
  • Use foil: You can soak a cotton ball in the nail polish remover and place it on your nail. In order to prevent the nail polish remover from getting evaporated; wrap the fingers in a strip of foil. This will make the removal process pretty easier and quicker.
  • Take it with patience: “Everything sets with time!” Wait for at least 15 minutes and then make use of an orange stick for sliding off the gel polish. Keep a note, not to use any metals for sliding off the polish, which may damage the nail bed.


  1. What would the frequency of the UV exposure have to be so as to cause the damage?

    It is found that over 13000 sessions of gel manicure with the UV lamps and about 40, 000 sessions of the gel manicure treatment with LED lamps can cause the danger to the skin or the nail.

  2. Why are Gel manicure treatments so popular?

    Gel manicure gained its greater popularity in last two years. The fact behind this popularity is the polish lasts for more than 2 weeks and brings a natural and shiny look to the nails.

  3. Is it essential to avoid the gel manicure?

    No! It is not necessary to completely avoid the gel manicure. You can go for moderate practices and take the necessary precautions in order to keep safe from any danger caused by the gel manicure treatment. Do not go for frequent treatments. In fact keep some breaks and hydrate your nails meanwhile. Keep your nails safe to be gel polished during any special occasion or function.


Now we are known to the dangers of the gel manicure procedure. Still, is it that you ever heard someone saying out loud after taking a gel manicure treatment that she has damaged her nail or nail bed? Obviously Not! Women usually say that they have groomed their nails with the gel polishes after a gel manicure. So, it is not necessary to completely avoid the beauty treatments you actually love to have. However, it is always better to keep safe from the dangers. So, take the necessary preventive measures, go for moderate gel manicures if you are fond of the manicure treatments and let your nails shine up naturally with the gel polishes.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 25, 2019

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