How to Remove Gel Nail Polish Without Totally Wrecking Your Nails

Shutterstock // Karviha

While gel nail polish is tempting to remove on your own, this shouldn’t be done without proper preparation. Removing gel nail polish properly will help you avoid permanent nail damage, so it’s worth it to win the struggle and suppress the urge to peel it away as peeling off gel polish can lead to stripping the delicate nail layers.

Remove Nail Polish Properly

The ideal way to handle gel nail polish removal is to go to a professional to do it for you. Still, DIY methods are possible, but they require patience and tools that are crucial to getting it done right. A safe gel polish removal process will allow you to keep your nails healthy.

While gel manicures boast longevity, they have their drawbacks, and the removal process is one of those. Probably because gel polish is very resistant to chipping, it has some harsh effects on the nails and cuticles. There is also the UV radiation that comes from gel polish dryers that are used almost everywhere. Polish dryers pose a potential risk because studies show they are linked to DNA damage and even potential skin cancer.

Several Viable Methods

The simplest proper method for removing gel polish involves using acetone-soaked cotton balls, tin foil wraps, and some patience. There is also the alternative of filing down the top layers and soaking them with acetone. Patience is key when it comes to DIY gel nail polish removal because different gel formulas require different removal times.

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Safeguarding against acetone’s drying effects is also important for cuticle protection. Making a barrier with something like petroleum jelly is essential.

How to Remove it at Home

Starting with coarse filing will help the acetone penetrate the tough topcoat. Then, put cotton balls soaked in acetone over the nail and wrap them in foil to accelerate the breakdown process. The gel will quickly start to lift. Gentle scraping and additional soaking may be necessary to finish the process. When it’s all gone, follow up with thorough washing and moisturize using replenishing cuticle oil. It is vital to restore the moisture lost during the removal process.

Some people are wary of acetone’s effects and prefer not to use it. This is especially true for people who are prone to dryness. For those cases, using acetone-free nail polish remover is an option, although it requires some more time and effort. Still, it is a gentler alternative that may be worth it for preserving nail health better.