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Is Gel Nail Polish Bad for Your Nails? Tips for Healthy Nails

By Sejla Selimovic
July 4, 2023
7 minutes

Gel nail manicures are pretty popular among our gorgeous ladies as they offer long-lasting results and nails look beautiful. Beautiful nails enhance the beauty of your hands making you go for gel nail polish appointments regularly, right?

But the sad thing is going for gel nail polish too often might not be as good for your nails as you consider. Although they make nails look sleek and graceful instantly, they are unhealthy for nails in the long term. Are you wondering how? Well, we are exactly going to explain that here.

Also, if you have already suffered from nail damage caused by gel nail polish and are looking to restore the health of your nails, we have solutions for you as well.

So, let us dive in to know if gel nail polish is bad for your nail and some top tips for healthy nails.

What is a Gel Nail Polish?

gel nail polish Gel nail polish is a nail grooming product with a particular soft gel formulation that dries off quickly taking only 30 seconds to 1 minute under UV light or LED rays. Gel nail polish can be used to extend the nail. Also, they last for 14 to 21 days without breaking, chipping, or getting dull.

In contrast to regular nail paints, you do not have to wait for 30 minutes or so to keep your newly groomed nails intact. Moreover, removing the gel nail polish requires special attention. You can not just peel it off on impulse.

Is Gel Nail Polish Bad for Your Nails?

gel nail polish Gel nail polish is formulated by using acrylic monomers and oligomers. The formulation contains no harmful chemicals. Additionally, it is similar to acrylic nails and does have not much difference from regular nail polish making women think they would be harmless. But sadly, that is not the case.

Gel nail polish might itself be rather protective than harmful, the process of gel nail manicures is what is actually bad for your nails. From preparing your nails to the curing process and nail gel removal, the technique is harsh making your nails brittle, rough, and unhealthy.

How is Gel Nail Polish Bad for Your Nails?

gel nail polish The scrapping of nails with nail files before getting the gel nail polish roughens the surface of the nails. The application and product itself are alright to be used. But as gel nail polish never dries on its own and you have to use UV light.

The direct exposure of your nails to UV light even for a minute too often can put your nails at risk of breakage and rarely cancer. Then if leaving artificial gel over your nails puts an unnecessary burden on them making them weak and brittle.

Additionally, when you peel off the gel nail polish, it affects the keratin layer of nails and causes mechanical damage resulting in nail tears. Lastly, it can dehydrate your nails and cuticle, aggravate allergies, and give way to the formation of spots and grooves in nails.

Safety Tips for Gel Nail Polish

gel nail polish If you love gel nails and cannot let them go, here are a few tips to keep them healthy and prevent damage.

1. UV Protection

The major damage caused to nails by gel manicures is the use of UV light. It not only damages nails but also make the skin prone to aging and cancer.

So, the solution is to use a broad spectrum water-resistant sunscreen in a liberal quantity, use UV-resistant gloves having holes for nails, and leave your fingers under the UV lamp for no longer than 1 minute.

2. Keep Your Cuticles Healthy

Cuticles are often pushed to the sides or removed altogether in a manicure but you should never do it as cuticles are an essential part to keep the nails healthy. So, do not cut them. Rather, make your to keep them moisturized and healthy.

3. Use Well-Sterilized Tools

Several tools are used in gel nail manicures and a salon takes in several clients each day. So, ensure that your nail expert uses well-sterilized tools to prevent infection as nail infections often go a long way.

4. Do Not Peel Off Your Gel Nail Polish

gel nail polish The hard yet flexible gel nails incite an urge in you to peel them off, right? But please do not let that urge get the best of you and scrap or peel the nails as it can cause mechanical damage to your natural nails underneath.

So, either get the nails removed by your nail expert or use the right technique to remove gel nails at home as explained in how to remove gel nail polish at home .

5. Avoid Getting Acetone of Fingers Beyond Fingertips

Acetone is a dehydrating agent which should be avoided in the first place. But as it is an essential product to remove gel nails, make sure that you apply acetone only to your nail beds and not the cuticles or the skin around them. You can cover that area with plastic or aluminum foil.

6. Take Care of Your Nails in Between Your Gel Nail Polish Sessions

Once you remove the gel nails, apply a thick moisturizer over your nails and use cuticle oil to keep the skin surrounding the nails healthy. Also, do not get gel manicures for a while if your nails are getting thinner or brittle.

There are several alternatives to gel manicures like a non-toxic gel effect nail polish, press-on nails, and dip powder nails.

Tips for Healthy Nails

healthy nails Here are a few tips to keep your nails healthy in general whether you use regular nail paints, acrylic nails, or gel nail manicures. Additionally, you can get some nail care tools and equipment for women here.

1. Maintain Nail Hygiene

Nails are prone to infection caused by bacteria and fungi. These infections are often stubborn and hard to treat. So, pay attention to your nails when you wash your hands and keep them clean. Additionally, you can scrub the nails and surrounding skin with a toothbrush to exfoliate them.

2. Cut the Nails in the Right Way

Do not experiment with weird shapes with your nails, damage your cuticles, or grow them too long. Rather cut them in a sleek straight line with smoothly rounded edges to avoid the edges getting into the skin and hurting your finger or toe tips. Use sharp nail-trimming tools like scissors or clippers.

3. Take Protein Supplements

If your nails are weak, rough, and brittle, start taking protein supplements containing biotin. You can also get keratin treatment. In addition to nails, these supplements will also improve the health of your hair.

4. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Although excessive water exposure to nails can be harmful, nails badly need the water you drink. So, drink water regularly to meet your everyday requirement so that your nails are hydrated from the inside.

5. Take a Vitamin and Mineral Rich Diet

While you can take a supplement, nothing beats the nutrition obtained from the diet. So, take fruits, vegetables, and meat rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Eggs, legumes, fish, and kiwis are good for nails. Check the vitamins for healthy nails here.

6. Use Nail Files in the Right Way

gel nail polish Nail files are used to shape the nails and we use them in a to-and-fro motion, right? But the correct way is to use them in one direction either from right to left or left to right. Also, if your nails are weak, use a glass file which is more gentle than steel files.

7. Do Not Keep Your Nail Longer Than Required in Water

Keeping your nails in water for too long when you take a bath or wash dishes can cause spilled fingernails, allow the growth of bacteria, and weaken them. So, avoid getting water onto your nail by wearing gloves.

8. Keep Your Nail Tools Clean

Just like you would want your salon tools to be sterilized, keep the tools you use at home clean as well. Use water and soap to clean the tools and alcohol to disinfect them. You can also use disposable tools.

9. Let Your Nails Rest for a Week or So

If you are someone who always has some nail product on, give your nails a break once in a while. Remove any products they have and let them breathe in fresh air for a week or so.

10. Keep Your Hands and Nails Moisturized

Nails need to be moisturized as well. So, use a thick moisturizer and rub it into your nails nicely. You can also use cuticle oil. Also, keep your hands moisturized to make the hands and nails appear shiny, smooth, and youthful.

11. Consult a Dermatologist About Your Nail Problems

Consult your doctor if you see that your nails are getting brittle, their color is changing, or there is some growth in them, and it is not getting resolved. Do not try home remedies without letting your dermatologist know about the nail problem.

12. Leave Your Ingrown Nails and Hangnails Alone

Ingrown nails and hangnails are a problem that you can not ignore as they make you itch to do something about them. But stop, do not do anything.

Let your ingrown nail grow fully and cut it or ask a doctor to remove it. And trim the hangnail with a sharp clipper instead of pulling it off.

13. Do Not Bite or Eat Your Nails

Biting the nails or eating the skin in a nail bed might seem too gross and wild but we have to agree that we do that often. It destroys the nail bed and makes the skin prone to infections. So, never ever bite your nails.

Moreover, do not try to cut, trim, or shape your cuticles as well. These are a protective layer for your nails.

14. Do Not Use Harsh Products on Your Nails

Chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalates, and toluene are harmful to the nails. The first three are toxic while the latter one is a drying agent. So, look at the label of nail products to make sure they do not have these ingredients.

Also, do not use harsh cleaning products on your nails as well.

15. Do not Over With Acrylic or Gel Nail treatments

Acrylic or gel nails look beautiful but they take away the natural beauty of your nails as explained earlier.


Artificial nail treatments are not completely harmless. Although many nail polishes these days are non-toxic and safe, manicures like nail gel polish are unhealthy for the nails. So, we mentioned a few tips to avoid nail damage while getting gel nail polish.

Additionally, you can keep your nails healthy by providing them with proper care, nutrition, and hydration along with avoiding harsh chemicals, biting, and harmful nail treatments.

Sejla Selimovic
Hi, my name is Sejla Selimovic and I am a professional manicurist and nail art technician. With a heightened sense of aesthetics and a great passion for beauty, I work on beautifying the days and nails of many ladies. With over 4 years of experience, I am the co-CEO of the beauty salon "The NN-Nailz Difference". My goal when I started doing this business was to make every dream of my dear clients come true, no matter how demanding it was. Through certified work and experience, every step of the way I ensure that my clients receive a significant, high-quality, relaxing and refreshing treatment.
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