For women who like gel manicures, a new health report offers some advice on how to keep your real nails in good shape.
While you may like the look of gel manicures, they can cause nail thinning, brittleness, peeling and cracking -- and they can hide nail disease, experts urge.
"In general, any manicure left in place for an extended period of time is not a good idea because you are not seeing what is going on underneath the nail polish," Dr. Chris Adigun, an assistant professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release.
Her advice: everything in moderation. "If you get them regularly, you need to be aware of the possible consequences and see a board-certified dermatologist if a persistent nail problem develops."
Adigun tips for getting gel manicures:
- Pay attention to your nails and allow them to regrow and repair. Consider getting gel manicures only occasionally to decrease the risk of problems.
- When getting gel manicures, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen on your hands to minimize damage caused by exposure to UV light during the curing process.
- Ask your manicurist not to push or manipulate the cuticle because that will increase the risk of inflammation and infection and also dry out the nail.
- Rehydrate your nails several times a day with a moisturizing product to reverse signs of brittleness, thinning and chipping.
- Don't chip gel nail polish with other nails to remove polish.
- To prevent skin irritation, soak only the nails, not the whole hand or fingers, in acetone while nail polish is being removed.
- If you notice any unusual changes to the nails, see a dermatologist.