Does Gel Nail Polish Ruin Your Nails?

There's no better way to look and feel polished than with a fresh gel manicure. And the best part is it's completely low maintenance and usually lasts for up to two weeks chip-free. But what are the dangers of a gel manicure? Does gel nail polish ruin your nails?


The American Academy of Dermatology website states, "Gel manicures can cause nail brittleness, peeling and cracking." However, Marian Newman, nail artist and author of Nailed It: Nails Fashion Technique, told HuffPost, "Having UV gel nails is not damaging if certain rules are followed." Newman believes choosing a qualified manicurist is the key to avoiding nail damage. She also recommends against doing DIY gel nails at home. "Even though they are sold to the consumer, UV gel polishes should be for professional use only," she explained, adding that there is a much higher risk of damage when you do gel nails at home.

Removing gel polish at home can damage your nail bed

According to SELF, the durability of gel nail polish can also be cause for concern. While many of us are guilty of trying to make our manicures last as long as possible, this habit has the potential to weaken nails, damage cuticles, and cause infection. As celebrity manicurist Skyy Hadley told SELF, "It is important to remember that once the gel begins to lift, it does allow for moisture to get under the gel and possibly lead to bacterial growth." Hadley notes that it's also important to allow time for the nails to breathe between manicures. "By getting gel nails every two weeks consistently, the nail plate gets extremely suffocated," says Hadley. As a result, nails are more prone to breakage


When taking a break and removing gel nail polish, experts agree that it's safest to head back to the salon. "You should never pick your gel off as this will damage the nail bed — always make the time to get these removed at a salon," founder of House Of Lady Muck, Laura Southern, told HuffPost. Once removed, keep nails hydrated with cuticle oil and moisturizer.