“Regular nail polishes are so fast to fade away, acrylic nails do not provide that desirable natural appearance and super gloss”, these statements have been surely uttered for uncountable times by many a woman whether to themselves, at beauty salons or in beauty forums. All these remarks served as a high-wattage inspiration for the leading experts in nail enhancement industry to give rise to a new formula that is feathery light, crystalline clean, nonporous, and what is most importantly – lasting up to 2-3 weeks and with super gloss finish. Gel nail polish came on the scene and made a real revolution in the beauty industry, becoming number one nail enhancement method for many working women, who needed the nails to look spick-and-span for a few weeks.
However, let us not forget that gel or gelatin is a hydrolyzed form of collagen, which is in fact a chemical and let us also call to mind that gel nails do not air dry, but should be cured under a UV or LED light. These facts are sufficient to doubt in their being absolutely safe and secure. Gel manicure does have many downsides starting from making your nails splintery and rough in texture to engendering skin cancer. So let us go deeper into the post-gel damage sphere and find out how to recover nails after gel manicure.
Haw Can Gel Manicure Be Bad For Nail Health?
First and foremost you should always keep in your mind that there should be moderation in all things. Even the most useful thing will lose its whole power if repeated every single day. The same is about gel manicure. Throwing yourself into back-to-back appointments with your nail technician will end up with a series of nail plate problems.
Once gel nail polish came into being hot debates broke out among different nail technicians and subsequently various hypotheses were brought forth about the main aspects affecting the nail damage process. Even now there isn’t any unanimous conclusion about gel manicure, but there are several facts that you should know about gel manicure before falling headfirst into this nail enhancement sphere.
The first thing that may perturb anyone is the usage of UV light during gel manicure procedure. As it has already been mentioned, gel nails are not air dried but cured under UV light between several coatings during 2-3 minutes. So in case of making gel manicure your routine procedure, coming back to it over and over again you may face serious health problems up to skin cancer, though many specialists state that skin cancer is just exaggeration. However, one thing that is ubiquitously admitted is that UV light is causing premature aging, producing some wrinkles and dark spots on your hands, which may surely accelerate the aging of your whole body.
Apart from this, leaving your nails continually coated with anything be it regular nail polish or gel manicure is highly detrimental, carrying all the chances to cause peeling, lifting or cracking to your nails. That is why it is advisable to every now and then leave your nail plates breathe to receive the necessary dose of oxygen at the same time not forgetting to remedy them, otherwise fungus or other parasitic diseases are just inevitable.
Another group of specialists focuses on gel polish removing process claiming that many nail problems caused are the result of removing the gel manicure off the nails without proper attention, considering it to be a cakewalk. If making an appointment with your nail technician is not possible and nevertheless you have decided to do it yourself, it is necessary to know how to remove gel nail polish correctly.
However, we have to disappoint you now. Even if everything has been handled in a proper manner, soaking your nails wrapped in foil pieces into any gel nail cleanser for 20 minutes means making them directly interact with strong chemicals. This may lead to the dehydration of your nail plates. Over and above, let us not omit the part when the foil pieces are removed and the remaining gel polish is peeled off with an orange stick. Every such procedure results in peeling off a layer of your natural nail plate, making it thinner and thinner, weaker and weaker every single time.
As New York City dermatologist Dana Stern states: “Nails are composed of cells called keratinocytes that look like tiles on a roof if you examine them under a microscope.” She then continues, adding, “By peeling off a gel manicure, you are not only removing the gel, but also the top layers of these delicate cells. This can result in white patches and textural irregularities throughout the nails.”
So, every time you remove the gel polish off your nails and find there yellow, brittle nail plates the surface of which being uneven and rugged, or the nail plates being layered, the cuticles dry, rest assured that your nails need recovery, which will apparently take you somewhat 1-1,5 months.
Recovering Nails After Gel Manicure
If you think that recovering your nails after gel manicure is as easy and fast as coating them with gel polish, then you are definitely under a delusion, as post-gel nail recovery needs complex procedures to maintain on a regular basis.
What to eat to improve damaged nails?
Before applying any remedies to your nails and before going through any healing procedures, what you should first pay attention to is your everyday healthy diet. Some foods contain elements that support the nail growing faster, making them become stronger and more durable. Among them are foods rich in proteins that are helpful not only for nails, but also for hair and skin. Try to include in your daily food ration much meat, fish, eggs, and cheese.
Everything rich in calcium will make your nails firm and solid, accordingly the more cabbage, broccoli or nuts and beans you start using, the faster your nails will recover after gel manicure.
Another element that is vital for your nail health is iron. The shortage of iron in a human’s organism may result in spoon-shaped nails. The one product that contains iron mostly is chicken liver. So, if you are endeavoring to have your nails look picture-perfect, it would do no harm to try a couple of delicious recipes with chicken liver.
Let us not forget about zinc. The right potion of this element in the organism helps nails become more durable while at the same time boosting the immunity of the whole body. Zinc is included in seafood, as well as in diary, meat and poultry.
Fresh fruits, especially those containing C Vitamins, like orange or lemon also play a great role in that intricate work to revitalize your nails. And one more thing! Drink a lot of water every day as it hydrates dry, damaged nails and is a real magical elixir for the whole body.
Some Tips on How to Care for Post-Gel Nails
• While you are in the thick of post-gel nail recovery process, keep your nails as short as possible. The longer damaged nails grow, the more stratified they become and accordingly the more they crack and peel. So, to avoid such displeasing results, always keep a nail cutter at your hand and never forget to sterilize it before applying.
• In that whole period of recovering your damaged nails, try to avoid coating them with any nail polish, letting your nail plates breathe freely.
• While doing some household chores like, for example, washing dishes or cleaning the floor, always wear rubber gloves to prevent your nails from meeting any water or chemical substance.
• Avoid opening any cans or loops with your fingers. Even when dialing a number on the phone use a pen or pencil to push the buttons instead of your fingertips.
• Acquire any cuticle oil (jojoba or apricot oil are more advisable) and apply it every day on your cuticles and nail beds, massaging them gently to promote faster blood circulation.
• It is a must for dry and brittle nails to be intensively moisturized every day especially in chilly weather. So a rich cream or ointment will come in handy for the recovery of your post-gel nails.
• A strengthening nail polish may also work here. You can apply it for 2-3 weeks in parallel with therapeutic baths or masks.
Best Post-Gel Nail Treatment Products
We have rounded up the best nail treatment products for you from different cosmetics brands that you may get your hands on and include in your nail recovery strategy.
• Decleor Aromessence Ongles
This luxurious looking cuticle oil comes to be as an amalgam of myrrh, lemon and parsley essential oils. The oil will soften and nourish the cuticles, while at the same time extending magical scent around. Buy it here!
• OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener For Soft & Thin Nails
This nail strengthener from OPI enriched with calcium is obviously to struggle against fragile and soft nails. One course is destined for a week. Coat your nails with two layers of polish and add another one every other day. Every week or two remove the polish off your nails and repeat the same procedure. Buy it here!
• Deborah Lippmann The Cure
This cuticle oil from Deborah Lippmann will never ever leave you witness dry skin, nourishing and hydrating the skin around your nails making it silky to touch and delicate in view. Buy it here!
• Leighton Denny Renovate Nail Repair Cream
Apply this nail repairing cream around your cuticles and onto your nail beds gently massaging the substance and the effect will be more than evident in 14 days. The cream containing vitamins and essential oils nourishes and moisturizes the skin, struggling against flaking and peeling of your nails. Buy it here!
• Butter London Horse Power Nail Fertilizer
This nail strengthening nail polish is again destined for one week appliance. Apply one coat for each day within a week, remove it and reapply for the new week. Buy it here!
DIY Therapeutic Procedures for Nails
So as to achieve the desired results with higher speed, the right diet and everyday nail treatment processes should be accompanied by DIY therapeutic baths and nail masks that are made from natural products to nourish the nails and make them more durable and solid. It is necessary to pick up two of the below mentioned recipes and apply them every other day for 10 days in a row and after that if need be to repeat the course with either the same recipes or replacing them with new ones. Here are several DIY masks and baths for your nails that will surely not take you any extra time or money.
• Lemon Nail Mask
One of the products rich in vitamin C is lemon and the effect of it on fingernails is super refreshing and strengthening. You can use this magical citrus fruit in different ways. Drip a couple of lemon juice drops on your nail plates, leave them on for 2-3 minutes, and then rinse with water. You can also divide a lemon into two halves and stick fingers into them. Essential oil of lemon can also be used as powerful nail nourishment and enhancement method.
• Lemon-Olive Oil Nail Mask
Slightly heat up olive oil in a bowl and add a couple of lemon juice drops into it, then apply the mixture on hands and wear gloves over it to leave them on for 20 minutes up to keeping hands masked the whole night. There is another alternative of this mask – putting hands into heated olive oil for 10 minutes every evening for at least one week. Olive oil easily penetrates through the nails nourishing them, softening and moisturizing the cuticles and allowing for faster nail growth and recovery.
• Berry-Based Nail Mask
The main rule while making this DIY nail mask is to select only sour berries, like for instance, cowberries or red currants. Blend a handful of berries into a congeneric substance; add 2 tbsp. double cream and 1 tbsp. oatmeal to it, and apply the substance on hands wearing gloves and staying in such a state for 20 minutes. This mask will enrich the nails with all necessary acids and microelements that will promote the nail recovery process after gel manicure.
• Lemon-Soda Nail Mask
Your post-gel nails at times look very pale or with yellow stains, so this mask will make them shine with all their beauty. For making this mask you just need baking soda, which has an exfoliating effect and lemon, which is natural lightener. Mix 2 tbsp baking soda with 1 tsp lemon juice in a bowl and apply the substance on the nails. After 10 minutes rinse off the nails with water and see the amazing effect.
• Gelatin-Based Nail Bath
However paradoxical it may sound, damaged nails after gel manicure may be recovered by bathing them in gelatin liquid. To make this revitalizing liquid, add 0.5 tbsp. gelatin into a bowl of hot water. After the gelatin is melted and dissolved in the water and the water temperature becomes comfortable for your hands, sink your fingertips into the liquid and keep them for 15-20 minutes.
• Salt-Iodine Nail Bath
Iodine has long been considered as one of the most compelling nail strengthening methods for nails and the appliance of it alone may also work wonders. However, combining iodine with another magical ingredient like salt may kick the nail recovery process with higher gear. There is only one restriction in this bath appliance. You should pass the procedure at night before sleeping so that by the morning the iodine color has already been faded away. So to make this liquid, dissolve 2tbsp of salt and 0.5 tsp. of iodine into 200ml of hot water and sink hands into it keeping them in water for over 15 minutes.
• Salt-Lemon Nail Bath
Dissolve 2tbsp of sea salt or common salt and 1 tsp. of lemon juice into hot water and keep hands in the water for 20 minutes.
Salon-Based Therapeutic Procedures for Nail Recovery after Gel Manicure
While homemade nail strengthening and healing masks and baths do not require anything but your everyday kitchen products like salt or lemon, thereby saving your money, there exist a couple of salon procedures that definitely guarantee perfect nail plate results in the long run, but cost an arm and a leg. Get acquainted with these 2 most popular nail strengthening methods that nail technicians are offering:
1. Sealing Wax Polish
This super nail strengthening method implies coating nail plates with a substance made from honey and beeswax. After applying this mixture on nails, there appears a thin film on nail that protects it from external stimuli, making it strong and shine with natural gloss. After all, beeswax contains a series of useful elements like carotenoids (Vitamin A), minerals, resin, propolis and beta-carotene.
2. Paraffin Baths
This is the second popular salon-based procedure that not only strengthens nails, enriching them with useful microelements, but also cures skin desquamation and dehydration, while also slowing down the skin aging and wrinkling. Both procedures should be repeated for several times for more effective results.
Photos courtesy of Shutterstock
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