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Dangers of gel nail polish

Dangers of gel nail polish is something I have been wanting to talk about for a while now, but just haven’t had the time. Until today :)

Over the past few years gel polish has become one of the most popular nail treatments in the nail industry, not only for nail technicians, but also home users. Trained nail professionals don’t always approve the accessibility of gel polish for non trade customers. Not only because using it at home with no qualifications it’s easy to ruin your nails, but also because by using it at home you are taking a way their business.

I personally think that there is nothing wrong when someone wants to do their own gel polish nails at home, but it sure is important that this person informs themselves about the correct use of gel polish before putting it on their nails.

Dangers of gel nail polish


As I am just a blogger with gel polish training, but no actual science degree, I have to relay on other professionals who are a lot more knowledgeable than me. One of the most known nail industry scientist is Doug Schoon. He has a facebook page which is worth following.

In this post I wanted to highlight some of the dangers of gel polish use as mentioned by Doug Schoon, but please also see his website for more information –

  • Applying the product on the skin. Unfortunately I have seen photos shared from both professionals and home users, where the eponychium (the thickened layer of skin surrounding fingernails and toenails) and sometimes even the side wall area is covered with cured product. According to Doug, this could lead to an increased chance of becoming permanently allergic to the products. Whereas a very low risk, the risk is there.  Find the source of information here.
  • Improper curing of the gel polish. When the gel polish feels ‘hard’ it is cured in my book. However, according to Doug, this is not the case at all. When the lamp you are using is over or under curing the product, you are at risk. Under curing the product can lead to developing allergic reactions and over curing can lead to damage of the nail plate (as the product will be harder to remove). Hence, it is highly recommended for professionals (but also home users) to use the same lamp as the brand of gel polish they are using. In addition, to research a brand who has developed a lamp that was manufactured based on their own gel polish curing time (there are brands who sell lamps that are just general UV/LED lamps). Find the source of information here and here.

Based on my own experience, I have noticed that when I cured brand A on it’s own lamp, it was easy to remove but when cured it in brand B lamp, the removal process became harder. I suppose therefore, as a reviewer of products, it would be unfair to state in a review that a product, cured in a wrong lamp, was hard to remove. On the other hand, as a blogger who reviews/swatches different brands of gel polish – it would be impossible to have a lamp for each brand swatched. This puts me, as a nail blogger, in a hard position as I want to follow the best practices, however it may not always be possible. Therefore I think it is important to inform readers about the dangers of gel nail polish.

  • Improper removal of the gel polish. When the gel polish is removed incorrectly, such as peeling it off or not soaking long enough and scraping it off the nail plate, you will damage your nails. I think most of gel polish users have learned this the hard way, but the good thing about it is that the damage (unless severe/matrix injured) is not permanent and will grow out over time. Source of information – my personal experience.

Opposite to what I have wrote above, something that is NOT dangerous when using gel polish is the UV/Led lights themselves. They won’t cause skin cancer. There was an actual research done in 2013 and you can read more about it here.

I am not here to tell you what you should do and not do as a gel polish user. I am sharing this information so you can make an informed decision about using gel polish. It is a popular product in the nail world. I am not always 100% able to follow Doug’s advice myself, but at least I know what risks I am taking. It is important for me to be honest with my readers and tell them about the dangers of gel polish.

Thanks for reading!

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