How Repeated Use Of Gel Polish Damages Nail, Causes Brittles




New studies have found that repeated use of gel nail polish could be harmful to the health of the nails.

Gel polish is a durable type of nail polish that is made up of acrylic monomers and oligomers that bond together when placed under UV light. This process is called curing which in a matter of seconds turns the liquid gel into a hard, chemical-resistant coating.


Studies have found that gel nail polish contains methacrylates and acrylates which can cause skin irritation, such as hives and contact dermatitis.

Despite its popularity among users, studies are suggesting that gel polishes can be harsh on the nails causing damage, especially when used repeatedly often.

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According to the research, “some people experience brittle, thin nails that split while others may react to the harsh chemicals used in the gel nail polish production.”

Dermatologists, therefore, recommend leaving the nails bare a week or two in between manicures so that the nails would be strengthened and rejuvenated.


The large survey titled ‘Side-effects Associated with Gel Nail Polish: A Self-questionnaire Study of 2,118 Respondents’ and published in the Swedish Medical Journal in 2023 found that among the over 2,000 people who used gel nails, some individuals experienced itching, swelling, and burning during application.

The study reported that “Nail damage was more likely to occur during the removal process — participants reported weakened nails, splitting, white spots, grooves, and changes to the nail plate.”

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Another 2023 study published in International Journal of Women’s Dermatology and titled ‘Nail Health in Women’ also examined the effects of prolonged exposure to UV light and gel polish.

The study said “It found a link to pterygium inversum unguis. This condition causes the hyponychium — the area where the fingertip meets the nail — to attach to the nail plate. In most cases, the condition is resolved within a few weeks of switching from gel to standard nail polish.”

The research also disclosed that at-home gel polish kits may pose a higher risk than professional salon manicures; this is because the products in home kits are not tightly regulated, and people do not have the proper training to apply them safely.

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The report said, “People using at-home nail kits often have long periods of contact with irritants in nail products.

“The most common side effect is painful, itchy eczematous dermatitis. Additional reactions include detached nails, or onycholysis, lesions under the nail plate, and weak, brittle nails.”

To prevent damaged nails from the use of gel nail polish, dermatologists recommend keeping the nails bare for at least 1–2 weeks in between manicures. This, they said, helps to strengthen, repair, and rehydrate the nails.”


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