It took several weeks, but my fingernails are almost completely regrown. I haven’t had a stitch of polish on them for that duration. I’ve been trying to heal them after all of the damage done by no-chip gel manicures. My nails were paper-thin, breaking and peeling constantly, and painful to the touch. I realized that I had to quit cold turkey to get them fully grown out and healthy again.

At this stage, I’m not even sure I will ever get a no-chip again or at least very rarely. To start, manicurists seem to have to buff down the nail for the gel to adhere well. Then, you need to stick your hands under UVA light for each coat of gel to harden. This may not seem like much, but it adds up over time if you’re getting regular manicures.

Dr. Adigun says UV exposure during gel manicures should be a concern for everyone, not just people who know they are especially UV-sensitive, because the lamps used in these manicures emit UVA rays. Although these rays don’t burn the skin like UVB rays, she says, they do penetrate the skin to damage DNA and collagen, which can lead to premature aging and may increase skin cancer risk.

(n.d.). Gel manicures: The good, the bad and the UV. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/gel-manicures-dermatologists-share-tips-to-keep-nails-healthy

I am also guilty of peeling off the polish once it does start to chip, which takes off layers of your nails. Obviously, this is not the intended method, but even if I am patient and do it the correct way, it’s still not so great for your nails:

Acetone, the chemical soaked on the nail for removal, is very drying, and can leave the nail thinner, causing it to become brittle making the nail bed more susceptible to infections and fungus.

Staff, health enews. (2013, October 4). Is a no-chip manicure no good for your health? Retrieved from https://www.ahchealthenews.com/2013/10/04/is-a-no-chip-manicure-no-good-for-your-health/

Now, I do understand the draw to no-chip: it’s relatively quick, requires no drying time, and lasts for a couple of weeks if done properly. Still, I have to imagine that some point no chip gel manicures will phase out. Maybe dipping powder will replace it, or perhaps there will be a new, healthier method that’s developed. Regardless, after the wear and tear over the last few years, I’m thinking I would much rather get a normal manicure and wait a few extra minutes for it to dry than ruin my nails again.


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