Save - spend life happy

spend life happy

SaveBeauty & Style Nail Care 101: What’s Safe?

Nail Care 101: What’s Safe?

Is nail polish bad for your nails? Not necessarily—but gel nails and removers can do some damage. Use these nail health tips for healthy, happy nails!

Nail Care 101: What’s Safe?

Part of looking your best is having healthy skin and nails. But what's safe? Is nail polish bad for your nails? Not necessarily, but you can do damage if you're not careful. We've got the nail health tips you need to keep your hands healthy. 

Is gel polish bad for your nails?

Many people love gel polish for its flawless, long-lasting deep shine. But is gel polish bad for your nails? Yes, it can cause nails to become dry and brittle. Worse, when it's finally time to remove gel nails, you need to soak your fingertips in acetone to get the tricky polish off.

The curing process is problematic, too. Gel nails require a UV lamp to set, and UV light causes skin cancer and premature aging. The exposure is relatively low, but people with cancer-prone skin should consider protective fingerless gloves for this treatment.

The best way to improve your nail health is to save gel manicures for special occasions. When you remove gel polish, leave your nails bare for a few days and moisturize heavily to rehydrate! The rest of the time, rely on gel-like polishes or a super glossy topcoat.

What about dip powder nails?

Dip powder nails are all the rage and with good reason. This hard-wearing manicure can last up to four or five weeks! Applying them is a three-step process:

  1. Start with a base coat or sealant
  2. Dip nails into the powder shade of your choice
  3. Seal with a topcoat activator that seals in the powder

Sometimes you need two or three dips in the powder for a finished manicure look. When it's time to remove dip nails, you (or your manicurist) will roughen the top layer of polish, then soak each nail in acetone for around 30 minutes or until the polish comes off.

Is this type of manicure bad for your nails? Like removing gels, acetone dries your nails and the skin around your cuticles. With dip powder nails, you'll need to soak in acetone a lot longer, causing more dryness. As with most things in life, moderation is the key.

What is the best alternative to gel or dip powder nails?

There are two great choices to try. Consider acrylic nail extensions if you want to lengthen your nails while adding color. They can enhance the structural integrity of your nail. They also come off much easier than gel polish using a simple soak. Because these extensions fully coat your nails, you can go ahead and apply gel polish on top of them. While this won't stop UV exposure on your fingertips, the acrylic extensions will act as a protective barrier between the gel polish and your natural nails.

The other alternative is a gel-like polish. Many brands produce non-gel polishes with enhanced durability and shine. While most aren't as chip-resistant as gels, they're still a step up from traditional polish.

Is regular nail polish bad for your nails?

Regular nail polishes aren't bad for your nails, so no worries here. Nail polish remover, on the other hand, can spell trouble. Acetone can make nails dry and brittle, so look for acetone-free options or polish remover with moisturizers to keep your nails hydrated.

Other nail health tips

Aside from limiting gel manicures and regular moisturizing, there is plenty you can do to keep your nails happy and healthy.

  • Wear gloves when doing dishes or soaking your hands for prolonged periods to avoid drying them out
  • Avoid clippers, which can shatter nails. Instead, use nail scissors if you need to trim a lot or a nail file for light trimming and shaping.
  • Cuticle oil helps hydrate nails and cuticles both
  • Take a break! It's a myth that nails need to "breathe," but if you experience peeling, splits, white patches, or other surface irregularities, take a few days off from polish altogether.
  • Invest in nail-hardener polish. The best products feature proteins that interact with the protein in your nails to create harder, stronger nails.