Gel X manicure or regular polish? Many nail enthusiasts go through this dilemma every time they enter into nail salon.

Most of the time, Gel X manicures become a top pick due to their quick drying, incredible durability, and low maintenance. Concerns have been raised, however, after recent discussions of gel x nail allergies on social media sites like TikTok. Images of blistered and inflamed cuticles that have gone viral suggest that this isn’t a one-off problem. Gel nail allergies are becoming so common that they are being searched for on TikTok. We need to find out what’s triggering these allergic reactions and how to stop them.

Gel X Nails allergies Images

Gel X Nails allergic reaction picture

Gel X Nails allergy video

Gel and Gel X Nails: are both the same?

A gel manicure is incomplete without gel polish. It’s in liquid form at first, but after being exposed to UV or LED light, it hardens. However, Gel-X extensions, like all gel extensions, are already hardened before they ever touch your nails. But there’s a catch: they need a second curing process to ensure they stick around.

Gel-X is not just a marketing buzzword; it refers to a real product that Aprés Nail sells to lengthen natural nails. A new option for acrylic extensions debuted that same year (2017). Gel-cool X’s texture is one of its best features. Because of its flexibility, it provides a more authentic feel than rigid acrylics. The finishing touch? They last as long as regular soft-gel manicures and can be removed with acetone.

How do they appear to you? Imagine a set of clear press-on nails, except these are actually made of gel polish and come in a variety of shapes to fit your nail bed perfectly. In what way? A gentler, more unforced appearance.

The application process is quite straightforward. These Gel-X extensions are cured under a UV lamp after your nail technician has shaped them to perfection and added your desired nail art. Very simple, right?

Gel-X Nail Allergy Symptoms:

  1. You may experience redness, swelling, and puffiness in your fingernails, cuticles, and fingertips.
  2. The skin around your nails and cuticles may have start burning sensation.
  3. Those fingers and nails might experience an itchy rash.
  4. Or an itchy rash may show up around your fingers.
  5. The skin around your nails may become dry and peel.

Common nail polish allergy symptoms:

Often, a Gel based nail treatment can lead to contact dermatitis, which can cause:

  • Redness at the spot of contact.
  • Skin that becomes bumpy or raised.
  • The affected area might look scaly or flaky.
  • You might feel an itch.
  • There could be some swelling.

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Related Articles: pros and cons of using Gel X nails in Pregnancy

4 Most Common Causes of gel polish Allergy reactions

Probable Cause #1: Overexposure

In the nail industry, overexposure is a significant factor that can cause allergic reactions. The overexposure principle suggests that prolonged exposure to allergen-causing substances will eventually result in an allergic reaction. This is especially pertinent for those who are experimenting with nail products but have little training in their application.
People often choose to do their own nails in order to save money or for the sake of convenience. Without proper training, they may not be aware of the precautions needed during the application process. For instance, it is important to avoid getting nail products on the surrounding skin when applying nail products. Even if you use a dehydrator such as alcohol to remove skin oils, you are essentially removing the protective layer. If the product spills onto unprotected skin, it can penetrate and increase the risk of an allergic reaction.

Solution: Before attempting to use nail products at home, it is essential to receive the appropriate training. Inattention to product application can result in overexposure, and a lack of training can contribute to the problem. Take the time to learn the proper techniques and procedures for applying nail products safely to avoid overexposure.

Probable Cause #2: Under-Curing

Another common issue that can cause allergic reactions is under-curing. The gel or other nail product doesn’t adequately cure when someone uses a curing unit that is not calibrated correctly or an inferior curing unit. To understand why uncured gel is problematic, one must comprehend that curing unit emits light to harden or cure nail products. However, the gel or product may not cure properly if the intensity or spectrum of the light emitted does not match the photoinitiator in the gel or product.
This disparity can result in a situation in which the nail appears hard but has not fully cured. Gel typically hardens at approximately 50 percent, and a hard nail does not necessarily indicate that it has fully cured. When in contact with the skin, uncured gel beneath the surface can become a breeding ground for allergic reactions.

Solution: Consequently, it is essential to use a properly calibrated curing unit or a high-quality unit that has been proven to work effectively with the nail product of your choice. Assuring that the light intensity corresponds to the gel’s specifications will reduce the risk of under-curing and allergic reactions.

Probable Cause #3: Excessive Cutting of the Skin

Excessive trimming of the skin around the nail plate may also trigger allergic reactions. This frequently occurs in manicuring with a machine, a Russian manicure, or a dry e-file. Expertise and training are needed to carry out these procedures successfully.
It’s important to remember that not all customers require intensive cuticle removal. Cut the skin around the nail plate carefully to avoid injury. Cutting cuticles too harshly, especially if you aren’t properly trained, can cause the skin to become more porous and prone to reactions.

Solution: While some clients may require precise cuticle maintenance, not all of them do. Experts should carefully evaluate each client’s situation before deciding whether or not cuticle cutting is required. Start with manual nail prep using gentle techniques and basic hand tools like pushers, nippers, and a soft buffer if you’re a DIYer. The point is to protect the skin from harm and reduce the likelihood of an allergic reaction.

Probable Cause #4: Ingredients

The presence of certain ingredients may exacerbate allergies to nail polish. Most people are sensitive to ethyl acetate and HEMA (Hydroxyethyl Methacrylate). It is not just the presence of these ingredients that is important, but also the concentration.

Products containing relatively high amounts of these allergenic monomers, typically 20 percent or higher, are more likely to cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. If you have an allergy, finding out which monomer it is that you are sensitive to is crucial.
Both organic chemist Vivian Valenty and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dana Stern have identified the culprits. Monomers and photoinitiators are two crucial parts of gel products. These chemicals are members of the acrylate and methacrylate families, which may sound intimidating. And what do you know? These chemicals are widely known to cause skin sensitization. Simply put, they can trigger an allergic reaction if they penetrate the skin.

So, here’s the deal: you must avoid having gel polish touch your skin at all costs. Whether you get a professional manicure or do it yourself, this rule holds true. Nail polish smudges are annoying, but there’s more at stake than meets the eye. The risk of an allergic reaction exists, you see if you aren’t careful.

Dr. Stern breaks down the two types of allergic reactions gel polish may cause:

Contact Dermatitis: This one hit hard and fast. The burning, pain, and inflammation of the skin begin instantly. The skin around the nail or nail bed is a common place to find it. This is what experts call a “irritant reaction.” In a way, it can be interpreted as your skin screaming, “Hey, this isn’t good for me!” Overexposure to these toxic chemicals is usually to blame.

Delayed Hypersensitivity Reaction: This is where things get complicated. It’s analogous to the chronic resentment of the immune system. Your immune system will develop a response if it has been exposed to these chemicals on multiple occasions. This means that even minimal exposure or dosage can trigger a systemic inflammatory response. Your body is basically saying, “I remember you, and I don’t like you!” After several gel nail appointments, even if you haven’t experienced any reactions before, this could be the cause.

Solution: There is some good news, even though a gel nail allergy might not have a magical cure. You can take steps to avoid reacting in the first place. Keep an eye out for acrylates and methacrylates the next time you get your nails done. Your skin will relish it the most.

Safety data sheets (SDS) of nail products can be consulted for guidance in resolving this matter. Reputable manufacturers typically provide SDS documents detailing the ingredients and their respective concentrations. This informs consumers as to whether or not a product contains potentially harmful monomers and, if so, whether or not the concentrations are excessive.

The risk of allergic reactions can be reduced by paying close attention to product ingredient lists and ingredient concentrations. Products with high monomer concentrations should be avoided if you have allergies or are worried about developing them.


If you suspect that your gorgeous gel manicure might be causing you trouble, it’s essential to take action. Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do if you suspect a gel nail allergy:

Remove the Gel:

Taking off any gel polish or extensions could be the first step in fixing the problem. However, this procedure works best for less severe reactions. Do not attempt a do-it-yourself manicure if the skin around your nails is in severe pain, oozing, or cracked. Affiliated Dermatology’s board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Karan Lal, urges caution if you plan to tackle this on your own. It is essential to see a doctor in such severe cases to rule out the possibility of infections.

Professional Help:

If your reaction is less severe, you may want to think about getting some help getting rid of it. Why? Given the importance of prompt expulsion. Dr. Gloria Lin, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC, recommends professional removal to prevent any further contact with other body parts. Dr. Lal stresses that the best way to treat contact dermatitis is to stop being exposed to the irritant. Irritation can worsen if the irritant is allowed to remain in contact with the skin for an extended period.

Consult a Dermatologist: It is important to see a dermatologist after removing the gel, whether or not your symptoms improve. This is especially true if you intend to continue getting nail salon treatments. Dr. Lal recommends photographing the reaction at its worst so your dermatologist can get a good look. They can use the photographs to either confirm or rule out the possibility of an allergy to gel nails.

Treatment Options:

Dr. Lal notes that topical steroids may be useful in treating gel nail allergies in some patients. And if the inflammation and pain are bad enough, you may need steroid injections in the skin near your nails. If the reaction spreads throughout the body, which is extremely rare, medication such as oral antihistamines and oral steroids may be required.

Use Hema free Gel X Glue and Gel polish:

Use Hema free Gel x glue as it’s the main culprit in causing allergic reactions if it gets in contact with your skin. Though it minimizes the chances of allergies, there are still some other ingredients that can cause allergies. You can use this Hema free builder gel that works great with any gel x nails.
Remember, this advice isn’t a substitute for professional medical help. So, if you have concerns about a possible gel nail allergy, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare expert for proper guidance and treatment.

• Dr. Karan Lal, MD, board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic dermatology at Affiliated Dermatology in Scottsdale, Arizona.
• Dr. Gloria Lin, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC.

If I’m allergic to gel nails, what can I use instead?

Press-on nails are a great option for those who want beautiful, long-lasting nails but are concerned about developing an allergy to gels or acrylics. They usually come in sets with different sizes and awesome designs to match your style. Press-on nails, made of plastic, resin, or acrylic, are a great alternative for people with sensitivities because they don’t contain the same allergens as conventional nail enhancements. You can now confidently show off your beautiful nails.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, gel and Gel-X nail enhancements are beautiful, but they can cause allergic reactions because they contain acrylate. Consult a dermatologist if you have any concerns about an allergy, and think about trying press-on nails as a chic, allergen-free alternative. These nails are great for those with sensitivities because of their versatility and convenience. Give your nails the attention they deserve, and flaunt your gorgeous manicures without fear of allergic reactions. Here’s to stress-free beauty and gorgeous nails!

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