Leuben Ochwo, a nail technician attributes this longevity to the hard gel product that is even more hardened under an ultraviolet or L.E.D. (light emitting diode) light. Apart from lasting power, according to Ochwo, another reason gel polish is popular is its ability to offer a protective layer over the natural nail enabling them to grow without breaking.
“One of the commonest complaints from clients is that after sometime, the nail polish makes their nails weak, brittle and easy to break. This is true because of the procedures involved during the application of the polish. For instance in order for the gel to stick better, the nails have to be buffed to remove their natural shine, this process eventually wears out the cuticle making it thinner and easy to break,” Ochwo explains.
To avoid weakening the nails Ochwo recommends giving the nails a break once in a while by spacing the manicures.
Another way to combat nail breakage and weakening is by consistently applying cuticle oil to the nails. The oil rehydrates the nails which makes them malleable and less likely to break.
Jalia Nabisenke, a nail technician also notes that clients tend to stretch the manicure a bit too far.
“Because it does not chip or lose its shine easily, some people are tempted to keep it going for more than month. This presents two problems; one it weakens the nails and two, once the polish begins to lift in the sides, it can allow moisture to get under the gel which can result in a bacterial infection,” she reveals. She recommends keeping the manicure for a maximum of three weeks.
Nabisenke further advises visiting a professionally trained nail technician to assess the condition of your nails before applying the next manicure especially if you developed an infection with the previous one or your nails feel painful or tender.
She cautions against at home gel nail polish removal or application.
“The best way to protect your nails and enjoy gel polish is to have it done by a professional. There are a lot of procedures involved in removing or applying the polish that most homes do not have. Most people end up peeling the varnish off crudely which causes damage to the nails,” Nabisenke observes.
Most opponents of gel nail polish use the fact that it is set or cured with ultraviolet light as their biggest concern. Leading dermatologists agree with them because ultraviolet light is essentially sunlight and sunlight causes skin cancer.
“If you are exposed to ultraviolet light for four to eight minutes every two weeks when you have a gel manicure, that can add up to significant exposure.
To avoid potential skin cancers on your fingers or hands, I suggest that you apply an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen to directly your hands and fingers after you wash your hands midway through the manicure.
Then wear tightly woven cotton gloves with the tips of the fingers cut off. Another alternative is to find a manicurist that uses LED (light emitting diode) light to set the gel polish which is unlikely to cause skin cancer,” recommends Dr Susan Taylor a dermatologist.