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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Gel Lacquer: The Best of Both Worlds

They say it’s what’s on the inside that counts, but there’s nothing wrong with a woman’s outer beauty matching her inner beauty. However, it’s important that the approach we take is a healthy one. When considering a manicure, there are several choices: traditional manicures, acrylic manicures and the latest approach called gel nail manicures. Most women love the natural look of a traditional manicure but are not satisfied with how quickly the polish chips. And who has time for a weekly manicure? 

An acrylic manicure, although less natural looking, due to the thickness of the nail solution used, still appeals to women because less upkeep is needed and they last up to 4 to 6 weeks.

The latest approach to a great looking manicure gives you the best of both worlds because it’s nail polish that doesn’t chip, can last 2 to 4 weeks, looks just like your natural nails and is considered by some to be the “holy grail” on mani-pedis.  Licensed Nail Technician, Casey Pirtle from Fox & Hounds Hair Studio & Day Spa says, “Gel nail manicures are a great choice but there are definitely some things you should look out for.”  First and foremost, Casey says choose a well-established salon with experienced and licensed nail technicians who will understand and have knowledge to answer any questions you have about the procedure. 

Gel lacquer is a hybrid product of gel, a polymer, and nail lacquer. Traditional gel nails can be used as an enhancement to lengthen nails. Gel lacquer is applied like nail polish. The main difference between traditional nail lacquer and gel lacquer is that between each coat, gel lacquer is cured under an LED light (15 seconds) or UV light (up to 2 minutes). After the top coat has cured, 99 percent alcohol is used to remove the remaining tacky layer. You are left with a high shine, long-lasting, completely dry finish. You can immediately stick your hand in your pocket without any smudging.

A typical gel nail manicure involves shaping the nail, pushing back the cuticles, applying the gel lacquer directly to the nail, and finally placing the nails under the light source. To remove the gel lacquer a professional will lightly buff the shine off the top of the lacquer then wrap the nails in 100 percent pure acetone soaked removal pads.

One of the concerns that has been raised about the gel lacquer procedure involves the use of ultra-violet lights and the risk associated with skin cancer. “An understandable concern”, Casey explains, “however, medical research states an occasional gel manicure won’t cause problems. Even if you were to get a gel manicure once a week for 250 years it most likely would not have an effect. It’s about as much exposure to UV light as you get walking to your car everyday.” If you are still concerned, Casey says to choose salons that use LED lamps (light emitting diode) instead of UV lamps. You might also try using sun screen on your hands or placing towels over your hands to expose only your nails and not the skin on your hands when curing.

Another concern is the exposure to acetone for removal. Casey suggests that clients choose a salon that will gently buff the shine off the top coat, which decreases the time needed to soak the nails. Well-established salons will also use removal wraps like “expert touch” by OPI to keep the acetone only on the nail as opposed to soaking your hands in bowls of acetone.

It is not a good idea to use an at-home gel manicure product.  When choosing a salon for your gel nail manicure choose one that is sensitive to nail damage. Dehydration of the nail is a common occurrence. A knowledgeable tech will encourage you to occasionally take 2 to 4 weeks off from using any polish as any product used too often will create dryness. It’s important to let your nails have a break from time to time and to restore moisture to your nails by using a cuticle and nail moisturizer.

Casey says that gel lacquer is best used for special occasions like a wedding or vacation rather than a constant practice for everyday. As is the case with most good things in life, the key is to enjoy them in moderation!  

For more information, you may contact Casey at Fox and Hounds Hair Studio and Day Spa, 309-829-0482.  Fox and Hounds is located in the Monroe Center in Downtown Bloomington.



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