Derma Spa Laser Clinic

Shellac Manicures: A Do or a Don’t for healthy nails?

on Friday, 06 April 2012. Posted in Dermaspa Blog

Who doesn’t love a manicure that can last weeks without chipping or fading? Who can fault polish that dries immediately and prevents ruining your manicure before you even leave the salon? Does all of this sound too good to be true? It turns out that it is.

New research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology has found that gel polish manicures are damaging to your nails. Researchers found that gel polish manicures and their removal methods lead to nail plate thinning, nail discolouration (pseudoleukonychia) and nail splitting (onychoschizia lamellina).

In addition, shellac and gel manicures utilize UV lights to cure the polish and help it set. In order to cure and set the gel polish, UV lights expose the entire hand (or foot, in the case of a gel pedicure) to UV rays. UV rays cause skin cell damage. With repeated gel manicures this could lead to premature aging, age spots and skin cancer.

Lets not forget what can happen to unhealthy nails. Unhealthy nails are more susceptible to nail fungus and other infections. As a result, it is possible that gel manicures and pedicures may make your nails more susceptible to nail fungus.

For more information on Nail Fungus and its treatment click here.

Although I must admit I was enthralled by these magically nick-resistant manicures initially, I have since reconsidered. I will consider a shellac manicure for a special occasion, but will stick to regular nail polish most of the time. Hopefully occasional shellac use won’t cause as much damage – after all – ‘everything in moderation’ right?

Dr. Zahra Alidina


Chen, A. F., Chimento, S. M., Hu, S., Sanchez, M., Zaiac, M. and Tosti, A. (2012), Nail damage from gel polish manicure. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 11: 27–29. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2011.00595.x

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