Who doesn’t love a relaxing visit to the spa for a deluxe manicure? The massage releases tension, leaving you with a beautiful color on your nails and a new confidence booster. But, when it’s time to remove the polish, your nails are left dry and brittle. The chemicals used in many salons are harmful to your nails (not to mention your skin) and can cause more damage than beauty, but there are a few natural ways to achieve a great manicure and keep your nails strong.
UV Radiation From Nail Dryer
The Skin Cancer Foundation reveals that all nail lamps produce UV radiation, and while even the strongest lamps present only a moderate risk of UV rays, some studies have shown that as few as 11 visits to the salon can cause DNA damage that increases your risk of skin cancer.
Nail Damage From Manicures
It turns out the nail lamps aren’t the only risk at a salon. Your nails can easily be damaged by chemicals, polishes and vigorous scrubbing of filing by your manicurist. The damage is especially prominent in the polish removal phase. Manicurists often use a metal tool to remove gel polish, damaging the nail bed and weakening your nails.
The good news is you don’t have to give up your relaxing Saturday mornings. You can still enjoy a manicure; you just have to be selective about the kind of manicure and polish used.
Are Gel Manicures Bad For Me?
In addition to the increased risk of skin cancer from the UV light emitted by dryers, the process of a gel manicure can also damage your nails.
The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reports nail weakness, brittleness, and thinning among five subjects after applying gel or shellac polish and removing it with acetone, a chemical that can be extremely drying to the nail and surrounding skin. Peeling the paint off your nails at home isn’t much better, it turns out. Peeling the polish off your nails can create pits, scrapes, cracks and actually removes the nail’s top layer.
How to remove gel polish from nails (the right way):
- Buff the gel polish lightly until you remove just the shine. Don’t buff too aggressively or try to remove the color – you’ll end up damaging your nails.
- Coat your nail cuticles and surrounding skin with a natural body oil or cuticle care product.
- Use cotton balls dipped in acetone to gently hold and twist across the nail.
- Once the polish is removed, wash your hands with a natural soap and lather up with your hydrating body oil.
- Try to wait a few days before painting your nails if you can to allow your nails to recover from the chemicals.
There are a number of non-toxic nail polishes that won’t damage your nails but still offer awesome, lasting color. Feel free to take your favorite natural lacquer to the salon for your next manicure.