I love the look of a fresh, gorgeous manicure. But what I don’t love is what repeated trips to the nail salon does to my natural nails! Brittleness, peeling, breaking – you name it, my nails have probably gone through it.
Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common tale for those of us who love getting our nails done. Luckily, LA-based professional manicurist and nail care expert from the House of Polish, Yasmeen Sandoval was kind enough to give us her advice on how to prevent and repair nail damage from gel and acrylic manicures. Keep reading to learn more!
How Gel and Acrylic Manicures Can Damage Your Nails
If you’re a longtime fan of acrylic and gel manicures, you probably already know that they’re not exactly good for you nails. Yasmeen says that the extent of your nail damage is related to how long you’ve had gel or acrylics on your nails.
For acrylic manicures, Yasmeen says that much of the damage may occur during the prep process. Application of acrylic nails requires the nail technician to rough up the natural nail surface with a nail file. This helps the acrylic to stick better, but it also compromises your natural nails. Gel manicures, on the other hand, don’t require as much buffing but can still pose potential harm to your nail bed.
These nail enhancements can lead to all kinds of unwanted side effects including dehydration of your nails causing an overall weakening of your nails. Long term dangers are a bit scarier. Incorrect application can lead to complications such as a bacterial infection if any moisture becomes trapped in the enhancement over a period of time or even nail separation from the nail bed! Not pretty!
How to Minimize Damage to Your Natural Nails
Obviously, the best way to avoid damage from acrylic and gel manicures is to avoid putting them on in the first place. But sometimes you just need a fresh long-lasting manicure, so what can you do to minimize the damage?
“The best way to minimize damage is to make sure that the prep of the nail is being done correctly,” says Yasmeen. “That includes using the correct grit of file – especially if it’s coming into contact with your natural nail. You want to make sure that they are also practicing proper removal and allowing the gel or acrylic to soak long enough to break down the product so minimal force is used to remove.”
Can You Remove Acrylics or Gels at Home?
Repeat after me: NEVER peel off a gel or acrylic manicure! Pulling off the product also pulls away layers of your natural nail, resulting in weakened nails. But we all know that sometimes, you just don’t have time to go to the salon to have your manicure removed by a professional.
Luckily, Yasmeen told us an easy way to remove acrylics and gels if you must do so at home. Here’s what you’ll need:
- a file
- pure acetone
- an orange wood stick or cuticle pusher
- a glass or ceramic bowl OR cotton and aluminum foil
To start, use a file to etch the top layer of your gel or acrylic. The more product you file off, the less time you will need to soak. As long as you file to remove the shine, that should be enough to break the seal to allow the acetone to seep in.
Next, you will soak your nails in pure acetone by either taking an acetone-soaked cotton ball and wrapping it with aluminum foil or soaking your nails in a bowl with acetone. Soak nails for at least 10-15 minutes.
Take your pusher and remove whatever product has broken down. Do not force any product off the nail. Repeat the process until all gel or acrylic has been removed from your nails.
How to Repair Damaged Nails
Now you know how to minimize damage from acrylics and gels and how to properly remove them at home. But what if it’s too late and the damage is already done? How can you get your nails back to natural strength?
“If your nails are damaged from acrylics or gels, you should definitely take a break and allow the damaged part of your nails to grow out,” says Yasmeen. “Applying nail strengthener rich in vitamins and antioxidants to your nails a few times a week will help your natural nails regain some strength as well.”
Yasmeen loves our new Natural Nail Repair Kit for strengthening nails after removing gels and acrylics. “After just applying, I could already feel a difference on my nails. They didn't bend as easily and the tint of color on the Transfix Base Coat made my nails looks nice and healthy!” Yasmeen told us. “After a week of use, I felt my nails were stronger even when they were bare. I would definitely recommend the Natural Repair Kit to anyone who is looking to improve their damaged nails.”
[caption id="attachment_2476" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Nurse your damaged nails back to long, strong, and naturally beautiful with the two-step Dermelect Natural Nail Repair Kit meant to address nails that are damaged via artificial means, gels and acrylics.[/caption]
More tips for repairing damaged nails:
- Cut your nails as short as you can.
- Apply strengthening treatments like those in our Natural Nail Repair Kit. Here’s how to strengthen damaged nails at home:
- Apply a thin coat of Transfix Nail Restore Base Coat. This polish is infused with strengthening Protein Peptides, Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), and natural ingredients like Tremella Mushroom, Vitamin E and Sunflower Seed Oil. This nourishing combination of ingredients helps to restore nails back to long, strong and naturally beautiful. Plus, the formula has a universally flattering nude shade that camouflages any visible nail damage.
- Apply Expedite Protect + Prolong Top Coat for a long-lasting, “wet look” shine. This protective shield defends damaged nails against chipping, splitting, and breakage. The result? Damaged nails look healthier, instantly. Plus, super hydrating ingredient Neonyca will lock in moisture and help prevent damaged by external sources. Think of this as a Hyaluronic Acid for your nails.
- Take a biotin vitamin daily to encourage faster, stronger nail growth.
- If your nails are peeling away from the nail bed, avoid using colored nail polish. Colored nail polish prevents you from monitoring your nails and make sure the situation isn’t getting worse. However, clear nail polish and strengthening treatments (like those in our Natural Nail Repair Kit) are totally fine.
- Keep cuticles moisturized by applying REVITAL-OIL Nail & Cuticle Treatment several times per day. This ultra-moisturizing formula will rehydrate dry, brittle nails and cuticles and restore the much-needed moisture balance to your nail bed.
Have acrylic or gel manicures left your nails damaged? Let us know in the comments!