Everyone, breathe: gel does not damage your nails! After seeing one too many complaints about how, “gel damages your nails,” and all of these, “gel rescue,” type nail recovery products, I’m losing my mind.
If you’ve experienced nail damage after having gel nails, I’m not gaslighting you. Many people DO experience damage after nail enhancement services. My goal isn’t to make you feel crazy! You aren’t.
My goal is, however, to correct a common misconception and improve understanding of nail enhancement processes. Gel does not damage your nails.
If you’ve experienced weak, thin, peeling, or sensitive nails after removing gel, you aren’t alone. The issue isn’t the gel – the issue is how the nails were prepped.
In many salons, electric files (aka e-file, nail dremel, or nail drill) are used to prep the skin and nails for enhancement services. Many nail technicians use them without proper training on how to use them safely and effectively.
Many variables that affect the, “right,” way to use an e-file: speed, bit, and tissue (nails or skin) are all relevant. Unfortunately, we often see an (inappropriate!) one-size fits all approach. Ouch.
Because of that, too much nail is removed due to insufficient education and practice. As a result, nails are left weak, thin, peeling, and sensitive when you remove your gel enhancements.
We tend to wear enhancements for at least a week, but often much longer. You won’t notice, for instance, the damage right away. Your enhancements immediately shield the newly-weakened nail! It isn’t the gel’s fault; it’s your nail technician’s fault for overzealous use of their e-file. Maybe they used the wrong bit or speed – or just went too far.
The Bottom Line
Although most areas of the US require training to be a licensed nail professional, the curriculum usually does not include dozens of hours on best practices related to e-file usage. At best, it covers a little. It is up to the nail technician to independently seek continued education on the matter.
In conclusion, gel does not damage your nails, but poor application can. You can avoid these issues by vetting your service providers, or by doing your own nails!