Gel Nails vs Gel Polish - The Reality!

Just Gel
Pro Gel

This list goes on and on.
I'm sure the first one sounds the most familiar but the truth is they are all one in the same.
They're all 'gel polishes', 'gel lacquers'.
No they are not the original gel nails that have been on the market since the early 70's, but a new fangled twist of the original.
It is a hybrid, meaning half nail polish, half gel.

And it has wreaked havoc on my nail business because of the confusion.

Confusion in the public - and the media.
A recent incompetent article on A Current Affair demonstrated such confusion.
It was a poorly researched and presented article on the 'gel industry'.
It was about Shellac, cheap imported gel polishes, at home kits (which I've covered here before), and cheap - excuse the term - chop shops, or NSS salons (non-standard salons).
Nothing to do with the gel nails I do. 
Mind you they sought opinion from someone in the the hair industry for their story??? Wouldn't one think they'd speak with a representative from the Professional Fingernail Association??? Hmmm???

But I digress - I guess to help clear this up for all your gals I need to talk scientifics.

Gel Polishes, otherwise known as Gel Lacquers and UV Polishes, are all basically based on the same ingredients. Give or take one or two.
This list is researched from the companies Material Safety Data Sheets of CND, IBD, Hawley, EziFlow, OPI as well as Pro Gel. 

They all contain different mixes of either:
Hydroxypropyl Methacrylate
Butyl Acetate
Thickeners and stabilisers
Photo Initiators

These products vary in price to purchase from $US5.00 to $US 16.00
A Current Affairs article referred to 'cheap imports' causing all the damage but this products list contradicts them as the MSDS show these products all contain similar ingredients.

These MSDS also concluded that 'the product may be irritating to the skin in some sensitive individuals. This may include redness, itching and irritation.'

The stories covered in recent news programs speculate some products to be inferior or tainted, thus causing irritation, when in actual fact it is stated in EVERY MSDS clearly that this is a known hazard of every gel polish. 
As published here in the CND Shellac MSDS.

Standard gels on the other hand like I use contain only acrylated oligimer, a methacrylate ester monomer and a photo initiator to set the gel. Closer in proximity to an acrylic, than a gel polish.
Pigments and glitters are added for colour and sparkle.
I will also add the same warnings are still applied as far as over exposure causing redness or itching, but this warning is attached to most hair, nail and beauty products we use.

Which take me to the concerns regarding nail damage.
I must also point out that the 'damage' experienced by thousands of women around the world from having their nails done is usually at the hands of the nail tech or themselves, more so than from the product.
It has been my experience over my career, improper removal is for the most part the main  cause of nail damage. 
Leaving nails too long, thus overbalancing the nail, or leaving maintenance too long so the nail has grown out too far and starts to pull on the nail bed.
Having ones nails done is a commitment and you must look after them if you don't want any nasty experiences. 
Doing them yourself can also lead to problems as you don't have the knowledge  and experience to know what will keep you and your nails safe.

Why have imperfection?
Standard gel removal by a professional is by way of filing old product off and replacing with new clean fresh gel, similar to an acrylic fill. Hand filing is normally all that is needed as gel is so easy to remove.
Gel polishes on the other hand are generally removed by using cotton pads soaked in acetone and then wrapped in foil.
In my opinion, from dealing in nails for over 28 years, acetone can strip the natural nail,  nail bed and skin surrounding the nail of its natural oils. Those oils that keep our nails supple, pink and healthy. Continued use of this way of removals could cause some type of permanent detriment to your nails.

There has been some concerns also on the use of UV and LED lamps causing cancers.
I've had my hands in gel machines for over 25 years now every two weeks and each time my hands would be in the machine for a total of 6 minutes tops. No sunspots, definitely no skin cancers….
Creative Nail Design employs their own full time scientific advisor, a scientist called Doug Schoon. 
He and 2 other associates have released a detailed report on the use of UV lamps in salons and their findings can be found here. 
It's quite detailed but in brief, no ~  there are no dangers of cancer in using UV lamps but the proof is in their article.

At the end of the day ladies it's all up to you and your needs. I'm a gel queen through and through. I have trialled many 'gel polishes'  and have sought results from my long tern clients. It was in their opinion that they preferred the clear and coloured gels that have come to know and love. So I have stuck with what they wanted.
So seek out professionalism and experience.
Always go to a highly recommended professional and if you get an uncomfortable vibe in any salon, always leave.
There currently are several places you can get a Certificate in Nail Technology but none are required by council or government to open you own salon. When I first started my nail career there was no such thing, I was trained in-salon, so I have no certification per-say, but over 34 years experience. That cannot be taught in any school. 
So being shown certificates or course diplomas will not guarantee you what your after.
So just do your homework, check out feedbacks online, and I always say, as soon as a nail tech picks up a file, you'll know if they know what they're doing or not!
Good luck ladies and any questions just contact me….
Yours in Nails,
Maria x x x