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Gel Nails - do you know what you're doing?

In the past two years the UK has experienced an allergy epidemic like we have never seen before and largely this is due to DIY gel nail kits. We have seen some pretty awful sights such as split, irritated skin around the fingers, nail plates lifting off the nail bed and even the nail itself just disintegrating. Many of these kits are imported into the UK and contain ingredients such as HEMA and DI-HEMA which are extremely allergenic. Fortunately, these allergens are set to be banned in April 2021 for all non-professional products and we should see less DIY kits on the market. Additionally, the lamp that is used to cure the gel emits UV light. This in itself is not a problem as it is scientifically proven that you are exposed to more UV rays outside daily than you would be from the amount the lamp emits. The real issue is most non-professionals won’t understand the curing process. Top brands work hard to ensure the lamp they provide is compatible with their product and this all comes down to the wavelength of light it emits. If the lamp doesn’t cure the product correctly then it is very likely an allergy may occur, if not immediately, then in the future. This is not something that can easily be measured by the naked eye. It’s starting to sound more technical now, right? Unfortunately, for many who have experienced an allergy to any nail coating they will likely not be able to tolerate product in the future. So what can you do at home if you can’t get to the salon? Keeping the nails in good condition is key. Keep nails short and use a cuticle oil daily to nourish the nails and skin. There are some great nail polishes on the market that are easy to remove and change the colour. Always use a base coat to protect the natural nail from staining. Complete your polish with a top coat to protect the colour and give it a high shine. You can reapply the top coat daily to build up the protection. Doing this can give you up to a weeks wear (providing you’re wearing gloves for household chores).Avoid hardeners which can make the nails brittle. If you’re looking to improve the strength/condition of your nails check out the Jessica brand. They have some fantastic treatment basecoats that can help improve your nails with regular use. Finally, consider supplements. For healthy nails it is important that they get all the nutrients they need. Sometimes this can be difficult to achieve with diet alone. Look for supplements that contain vitamins for healthy hair, skin and nails. (Always check with your health professional before taking if you have any underlying medical issues or take other medications). A gel manicure is much more than just painting nails. There’s a science to it and a lot of prep work to ensure you get the best finish. It’s also about the experience of having it done for you. That’s all part of the fun.

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