Gel and shellac manicures may not be as awesome as you think.

Can Gel and Shellac Affect Your Natural Nails?

by Pamela Simmons

Gel and shellac manicures promise to keep your nails perfectly polished, shiny and chip-free for up to two weeks. They're an exciting option for busy women who don't always have time to get weekly manicures. While gel and shellac manicures look beautiful, there are some negative effects to your nails. Before you go in for your next salon appointment, decide whether or not these manicures are worth it.

1. Extended Manicure Concerns

Because gel and shellac manicures keep polish in tact for much longer than traditional polishes, your nails will be covered for long amounts of time. Nails can give clues to a variety of health problems and if they're covered for too long, and there are crucial changes in the look of your nails, you won't know until your manicure is removed. Changes that are indicative of larger health concerns should be addressed as soon as possible, so keeping your nails covered for too long may not be the best idea.

2. Thinning Nails

Because gel and shellac bond to your nails, removing the material takes a lot of effort. First, nails are soaked in acetone to dissolve the gel. Then, remaining polish is either buffed off or removed with a metal cuticle pusher. This intense process of removal can cause your nails to thin by up to 50 percent, according to dermatologist Dr. Anne Chapman. The thinner your nails, the more brittle they are and the more prone they are to breakage.

3. Risk of Infection

In more severe cases, infection can occur. In addition to thinning your nails, the removal process can cause abrasions which make your nails more susceptible to infection. Most common is staphylococcus which is the bacteria that causes staph infections. Strains of staph infection range from simple, easy-to-treat versions to antibiotic-resistant strains. In addition to staph infections, abrasions also leave you at risk for fungal infections.

4. Decision Process

Most doctors recommend either refraining completely from getting gel and shellac manicures or only getting them rarely for special events, like vacation. If you have thin nails already, as tempting as gel and shellac polishes may seem, it's safest to avoid these long-lasting manicures altogether. While initial results may seem exciting, consequences aren't worth it.

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