ZocdocAnswersAre nail gels safe?

Question

Are nail gels safe?

I've heard that using nail gels can actually damage your real fingernails as you get older. Is that true? I don't want to use gels if they're unsafe, but it seems like everybody uses them, and I haven't seen anyone's fingernails falling of from them.

Answer

Gel nails are a popular prosthetic nail which can be obtained in most nail salons. Sometimes nail gels can be associated with medical complications. If you would like to discuss this issue in more detail, your primary care doctor or your dermatologist would be happy to talk with you. The application of the gel nail itself to the real nail is not so damaging. However, as your nails grow you will periodically have to have the gel nail replaced, approximately once per month, to keep them looking good. It is the harsh chemicals used in this removal and replacement process that can damage the real nails. Common damage includes thinning and cracking of the nails. Even after you remove the nail gels permanently it can take quite a while for the real nail to grow back in normally. Also, occasionally, fungus can get under the gel nail and cause an infection of the real nail. Similarly, the frequent manicures associated with the process can cause cuts in the skin around the nail which can become infected. As always, the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. If you have concerns, please schedule an office visit with your dermatologist or with your primary care doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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