Is Gel Nail Polish Bad For Your Nails?

Is Gel Nail Polish Bad For Your Nails? - Mersi Cosmetics

When you think of long-lasting flawless manicures, gel manicures might be the first thing that hits your mind. Gel manicures not only last longer but also look beautiful and are a top choice among women who love long and shiny nails.

A Gel manicure involves applying a gel-like substance to your nails to give them your desired shape and color. They look similar to acrylic nails but are significantly different from them.  

But do you know the sad story that starts when you remove your gel nail polish? The dry and flaky nails are not what you expect after an expensive manicure. Why does that happen, and what is the impact of gel nail polish on your nails? Let’s find out by reading the article below. 

What is Gel Nail Polish? 

Gel nail polish is different from regular nail paints. Its unique chemical composition allows it to stay on your nails longer. You can apply a gel nail polish the same as regular nail polish after applying a base coat on your nails. Instead of sitting and waiting for it to dry, you have to put your nails under UV light to let the nail polish dry and get hard. 

Once the gel polish is dry, you can finish the manicure with a top coat and get amazing glossy nails. Previously, there were traditional hard gels available at salons; however, soft gels are also popular nowadays. 

The following are some common ingredients in gel nail polish that are likely to cause damage to your nails. 

  • Toluene
  • Triphenyl Phthalate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Dibutyl Phthalate 

Some of these ingredients are present in other traditional nail polishes also. They are strong chemicals, and frequent exposure to these chemicals for a long period can lead to weakening your nails. 

Harmful Impact of Gel Nail Polish

The discussion about the harmful effects of gel nail polish is not new in the fashion industry. It is a popular belief that gel nail polish can make your nails dry, chipped, and flaky. Is this claim true?

It might not sound too great, but yes, it is true. Almost all types of gel manicures and gel nail polish can harm your nails. 

  • The leading reasons gel nail polish harm your nails can be the incorrect application or removal of the polish from nails.
  • Gel nail polish can be harsh on the surface of your nails. If you do not remove it correctly, it can leave your nails weak and thin. 
  • The problem with gel nail polish is that they require a lot of careful maintenance. From pre-application care to safe removal, gel manicures require high maintenance. A little mistake, and get ready for brittle nails.  
  • Gel manicures can lead to brittle, thin, and weak nails. 
  • The UV light used for drying gel nail polish is harmful to your skin. Frequent exposure to UV light can lead to signs of aging and other skin-related diseases.  
  • Gel manicures are expensive. 
  • The common signs of damage caused to your nails due to gel nail polish include dryness, infection, inflammation, brittleness, cracks, and flakes. 

Why Could it be Bad for Your Nails?

The following are the common mistakes that can make gel nail polish trouble for your nails. 

  • If you forget to apply a base coat before applying your gel polish, it may become difficult to remove. 
  • Cuticle oil is essential to maintain the flexibility of your nails. If you do not apply it regularly while applying gel nail polish can become your biggest mistake. 
  • You may not want to remove the gel off your nails as long as it looks perfect, but you need to do this. Keeping gel nail polish on your nails for too long can damage your nail bed. 
  • The idea of saving some money by choosing a budget-friendly option is always tempting but don’t do it when you have to remove your gel nail polish. Always go to an experienced professional. Doing it yourself can become a leading cause of nail damage. 
  • If your gel nail polish gets cracked or chipped, remove it soon. Keeping it on can increase the damage instead of limiting it. 

Is all hope lost for gel manicures? The good news is that you can still get super shiny finishing touches without damaging your nails. A healthy alternative for your nails is breathable nail polish. Read below to find out what it is. 

What is Breathable Nail Polish? 

Breathable nail polish has become the talk of the town. It is a unique type of nail polish that allows water and oxygen molecules to pass through the layer of the polish. This is what drives its name and makes it “breathable”. You may have heard of it as permeable or halal nail polish.

So, do your nails actually need to breathe? The answer is no. Your nails get the required amount of oxygen directly from blood and do not need to absorb it from their surface. However, breathable nail polish is still good for your nails in several ways.  

How does it work?

You may be wondering how a breathable nail polish works that allow water and oxygen permeability. You can understand it with this simple description. 

  • The structure of a breathable nail polish represents a staggered bond between molecules. It resembles a bricklaying pattern. 
  • The spaces between molecules create a path for air and water to move through them. 
  • In addition, the composition of breathable nail polish includes ingredients that facilitate breathability. 
  • It all works well together for the permeability of the nail polish, making it what it stands for!

How is breathable nail polish different from gel nail polish?

There is a huge difference between breathable and gel nail polish. Gel nail polish tends to block moisture and air from reaching your nails. It is easy to apply but difficult to remove safely. On the other hand, breathable nail polish contains a polymer that allows oxygen and water to pass through. 

A breathable nail polish is a quick-dry polish that is easy to apply and remove. Gel nail polish is made of harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde, whereas breathable nail polish is made of less-harsh chemicals. 

Benefits of Breathable Nail Polish for your Nails

Breathable nail polish has a long list of benefits for your nails that make it the best alternative for gel nail polish. The following are some of them.

Hydrates your Nails

Most breathable nail polishes contain nourishing ingredients, such as essential oils, that keep your nails hydrated. The moisturizing properties of these ingredients save your nails from losing the moisture that becomes the foundation of most nail problems. 

Lasts Longer

Breathable nail polish can last longer than traditional nail paints. This means that if you apply it following the right steps, you can get your manicure to last for three to four weeks. The first step before applying it is preparing nails by trimming, filling, and buffing them. Once they are clean and dry, you can apply a base coat and let it dry. 

Unlike traditional nail polish, breathable nail polish needs two thin coats to give the best results. Apply the first coat, let it sit and dry and then apply the second coat. Finally, apply the top coat to secure your nails from chipping and cracks. Follow the right steps, and you will be all set for a month or more. 

No Harsh Chemicals

If you wish to say goodbye to toxic chemicals in nail polish, breathable nail polish is the best choice. Substances like toluene, formaldehyde, and camphor are not included in the composition of breathable nail polish. This makes it ideal for women of all ages, even teens. 

Breathable nail polish is usually 7-, 9-, 12-, and 13-free. The number represents the number of harsh chemicals from which the nail polish is free. 

Prevents Nail Staining

Nail stains are the worst nightmare for a nail polish enthusiast. You want to avoid it at all costs. Breathable nail polish is also effective against nail staining. The skin-friendly ingredients in breathable polish do not get absorbed into the nails, even if you put on a darker shade. 

As a result, your nails don’t get stains when you remove the nail polish. Since you do not have to apply two coats of breathable nail polish, it is easy to remove with gentle rubbing. 

Prevents Infection

Water-logging is a common nail issue caused by traditional nail polish. Switching to breathable nail polish reduces the risk of getting a nail infection since it prevents Water-logging. You can wear breathable nail polish without the fear of harming your nails. 

Dries Quickly

As mentioned earlier, the composition of breathable nail polish allows it to dry faster than traditional polish. How does it happen? The permeability of nail polish allows air molecules to penetrate through the coats. 

As a result, you do not have to wait long for your nails. Instead, you can finish your manicure quicker and better. It not only reduces the waiting time but also reduces the risk of smudged nails. 


Breathable nail polish is wudu-friendly, which means that it does not create a barrier between the nail's surface and water. Muslim women can wear it while performing ablution as well as offering prayers. This makes it a symbol of inclusivity and social equality for all by facilitating Muslim customers. 

Factors to Consider

There are still some factors you need to keep in mind when using breathable nail polish. The following are some of them.

  • Although breathable nail polish is better than traditional ones, you still need to give your nails a break in between applying it. 
  • Avoid applying too many coats of breathable nail polish. It may affect its permeability. 
  • Do not scrape nail polish off your nails. Instead, soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover and gently rub the nail lacquer off your nails. 
  • Never forget to moisturize your nails regularly. Dehydrated nails are the major cause of common nail issues. 
  • Pushing and trimming your cuticles frequently is never a good idea. Avoid it as much as possible. 

Should you use Breathable Nail Polish?

If you are someone who loves to paint your nails, you must be concerned about your nails’ health. Frequent use of nail polish can cause a long list of problems for your nails. Moreover, if you apply gel nail polish frequently, you might be proceeding towards a heap of nail issues. 

For everyone who applies nail polish, breathable nail polish is an easy and perfect solution that your nails need. 

Breathable Nail Polish Manicure-The New Normal

The benefits of breathable nail polish have made it famous quickly over time. A large number of women nowadays are replacing traditional nail polish with breathable ones to get long-lasting manicures. If you care about your nails and want to keep them healthy and strong, it is the perfect time to switch to breathable nail polish and reap its long-term benefits. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does halal nail polish harm your nails?

No, halal nail polish does not harm your nails. It is composed of natural ingredients without any harsh chemicals. Moreover, its permeable formula keeps your nails hydrated and prevents chipping. 

Can you remove gel nail polish at home?

Yes, you can remove gel nail polish at home if it is composed of a softer gel formula. The hard gels are insoluble in acetones and need to be scrapped off by a professional manicurist. 

Is gel nail polish applied to your natural nails?

Yes, gel nail polish is applied to your natural nails for a neat and smooth finish. 

How long of a break do your nails need between gel manicures?

Between two gel manicures, your nails need a break of four to five months. Gel manicures can make your nails thin and dehydrate them excessively. You must wait for the whole nail to grow after peeling gel polish before you apply gel nail polish once again. 

How to take care of your nails after a gel manicure?

You must moisturize your hands and nails regularly and keep them clean. Keep trimming and gently buffing your nails to reduce the risk of breakage. Avoid picking at your nail polish and get your gel nail polish removed by a professional.

What to expect during a gel nail appointment?

A gel manicure is a multi-step procedure that begins like any standard manicure. Once your hands are clean and your nails prepared, the professional begins with applying a base coat. It is followed by gel nail polish that is dried under UV lamps for 10-15 seconds. Finally, the manicure ends with a top coat and cuticle oil. 

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