You Reap What You Sow The Dangers of Sanding Your Gel Nails

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You Reap What You Sow: The Dangers of Sanding Your Gel Nails

Posted on April 22, 2014 by gelnailremoval

If you have ever gone in for a manicure and asked your nail technician to take off your gel polish using sanding and filing, you may want to think twice before doing it again. There is a right way to remove gel polish without damaging your nails, and it does not involve sanding.

You may think that removing your own gel nails is easy — all you need to do is file them down and they will come off. And it’s true that when you are working on an artificial nail, you can sand it down until the acrylic has been completely removed. But natural nails are different than acrylic nails. They are more porous and delicate, so the same methods that work on acrylics won’t work on them. And if you try to sand off a gel manicure from your natural nails, you could end up doing some serious damage—not only to your nails but also to your health.

The main problem with sanding your nails is that when you file them too aggressively, you can cause micro-tears in the nail plate that can be difficult to see with the naked

You Reap What You Sow: The Dangers of Sanding Your Gel Nails

1. Sanding can cause your nail to break.

When the gel is removed by sanding, it is literally being stripped off the nail by little bits of paper. If you were to place a piece of paper on top of your nail and scrape it off with a nail file, it would remove all the oil from your nails and leave them dry and brittle. If you have ever tried to remove a label from a jar, you know that if you try to do it with your fingernail, it can easily crack or break. This is because there is no oil left in the fingernail after the sticker has been removed. In the same way, sanding off the gel leaves your nails dry and brittle which could lead to them breaking.

2. Sanding can cause damage to the skin around your nail.

If you sand down too far on one side of your nail, you could accidentally remove some of the skin around your nail bed and end up with an open wound. This would not only be painful but also expose you to risks of infection such as staph bacteria which live under our nails and can cause serious illness if they enter our bloodstream.

There are many ways to remove gel nails, but only a few that are considered safe. Many of the unsafe methods involve sanding the nails, which is incredibly damaging to the nails and can have long term consequences. Because gel nails are very hard and resilient, they can’t simply be soaked off and removed like acrylics. This means that any method you choose will involve some force in order to get them off. However, there are some safe methods that do not involve sanding the nails.

The first unsafe method is using a dremel or similar tool to grind off the gel top coat. This is one of the most commonly used methods for removing gel nails, because it is inexpensive and easy to do at home. The problem with this method is that it generates a lot of heat, which can do serious damage to your nail bed if you’re not careful. If you do decide to use this method (although I highly recommend against it), be sure to wear gloves and keep your hands cool by dipping them into water often.

The second unsafe method is using an electric file to sand down the top coat of your gel nails until they’re thin enough for you to peel them off. This also generates a lot of heat and should be avoided as well.


Have you ever tried to remove or sand down your gel nails? If you have, chances are you’re guilty of trying to cut corners and save a few bucks instead of heading to your nail salon for professional removal. I’ve been in your shoes too, ladies.

I’ve tried out so-called “easy” methods of removal at home: nail files, clippers, the works. The result? My nails were left jagged and uneven. It was so embarrassing!

But that’s not the worst part. Each time I removed my gel nails at home, I was stripping away layers of my natural nail bed — something I didn’t even know I was doing until it was too late. Now my nails are thin and weak. They chip easily and the polish never looks as smooth as it does when I get it done professionally.

I wish someone had warned me about this earlier! That’s why now I’m writing this blog to warn all of you about the dangers of DIY gel nail removal.

Painting nails is a beauty routine many women participate in. We do it to look beautiful and feel good. But, are all the products we use to get beautiful, healthy nails safe? What’s the real cost of a manicure?

Gel nails have become increasingly popular, but they are not without their risks. Many people choose gel nails because they last up to three weeks without chipping. However, an article by Dr. Mercola states that these long lasting polishes are packed with chemical ingredients, which can lead to a host of health issues such as thyroid damage, reproductive issues and cancer.

Dr. Mercola goes on to say that another risk of gel nails is the method used to remove them – sanding the gel off using an electric file or drill. The dust created from this process is made up of tiny particles of plastic and acrylic, which is then inhaled into the lungs leading to respiratory problems and asthma.

I am a nail tech, so let me explain:

The gel is attached to your nail with acrylic, and it has to be filed down and buffed off the nail. If you have only had the nails on for a short time, you can probably file them off yourself, but you need a professional with a dremel drill to remove them safely if they have been on for any length of time.

I have seen what can happen when people do it themselves with sandpaper, and it is not pretty. The top layer of your nail, where your skin is, can come off too, leaving your nails permanently damaged. The nerves in your fingers can also be damaged, so that you never feel anything when touching something hot or cold ever again.

I will never understand why people want their nails long like talons in the first place, but I hope this post will stop some people from attempting to do this at home with sandpaper.

How do you remove gel?

If you have a gel manicure, it’s important to know how to properly care for your nails. One of the biggest mistakes I see women make is using a nail buffer or emery board to remove their gel. This can actually weaken your nails by causing tiny splits in your nail plate (the hard surface of the nail). It also makes it easier for bacteria and fungus to penetrate the nail. A safer way to remove gel nails is with an acetone-based remover. Most salons will soak wraps in acetone and wrap them around your fingertips for ten minutes until the product slides off. You can also use this at home, but keep in mind that acetone dries out nails, so moisturize well afterwards.

Sometimes I hear clients say that they like to use a buffer or emery board on their natural nails because it makes them feel smoother and they look shinier. This is not true! The shiny look is actually caused by tiny scratches on the surface of your nail plate, which reflect light differently than the rest of the nail. If you want glowing nails without damaging them, try buffing them in a single direction with a four-way buffer. You will get a glossy finish without those unsightly scratches

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