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Should UV Gels “Burn Like Crazy”?

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Should UV gels burn like crazy?

Question: If UV gels “burn like crazy” under the UV lamp, students are told that it is because the gel is “bad”? In my opinion, the problem is more related to the way the gel is being used during application. What do you think?”

Answer: I do agree with this. When UV gels are properly applied and cured, they can become warm. However, they are NOT supposed to “burn like crazy”.  Of course, this assumes the students are using a quality, brand-named UV gel that is well formulated, and properly applied. And then, of course, cured as directed by the manufacturer in the correct lamp. Manufacturers take steps to ensure their UV gel doesn’t “burn like crazy”.  If anyone is getting this amount of excessive heat, then it would seem they are NOT properly applying and/or curing

If the UV gel is applied too thickly or cured in an unsuitable nail lamp, then excessive heating may occur. These are the two most common reasons for this to happen. When the “correct” thickness of UV gel is applied, they may become warm. But when applied too thickly, more heat is released, and the nail can become very warm. When one also uses a nail lamp that releases too much UV energy for curing that UV gel, then overheating becomes very likely to occur. That’s because one symptom of over-curing a UV gel is the release of excessive amounts of heat. 

This type of burning can cause the nail plate to separate from the nail bed. This creates an open space, which is called onycholysis. Once onycholysis occurs, the nail bed may later become infected. It can eventually lead to complete loss of the nail plate unless proper care is taken to reverse the condition.  Once onycholysis occurs, the nail plate should be kept short and clients will have to be careful not to injure them until they can grow out again. When the hyponychium seal under the free edge is reestablished, then the nail plate should continue to grow normally.  Depending on the severity of the onycholysis, this condition may take one or two months to resolve itself. During that time, clients should be instructed to wear gloves, keep their nails clean and dry, and do everything they can to prevent catching the nail on objects which could pry the nail plate back, and lead to even more nail bed separation. Keeping the nail plate short will help prevent additional damage. 

The other possible reason the UV gel may feel too hot could be because the nail bed has been friction burned by overly-aggressive filing techniques. This is often done when nail technicians use heavy-handed filing techniques. In other words, using too much downward force on the nail file.  When an electric file is improperly used on the nail plate, the result can be friction burns to the nail bed.  Friction burns cause the nail bed to become super-sensitive to even normal and acceptable levels of warming that normally wouldn’t be a concern. The client’s natural nails should be gently and carefully filed and not treated roughly while being filed. Also, be sure to apply UV gels in thin layers, and cure them with the correct UV nail lamp in order to assure a proper cure.

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