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DO’S and DON’TS for Your Nails

While a manicure can make your nails look colorful and stylish, selecting the right type is more than just a cosmetic choice. From preparing the nail bed to applying various mixtures, it’s essential to understand the process involved in getting your nails done.

“Each type requires a different process, with different effects on your natural nails — and potentially your overall health,” says dermatologist Amy Kassouf, MD.

You’ve likely heard of gel and acrylic, but new nail trends seem to emerge rapidly. A friend may have suggested that dip powder nails are a faster and less harmful option to enhance your nails. But are they actually safer than gel or acrylic nails? The answer is both yes and no. Kungul outlines some advantages and disadvantages of dip powder manicures compared to gel and acrylic.

What are Dip Powder Nails?

Despite sounding like a cloud of mystical pixie dust, dip powder nails are a durable manicure option that has recently gained popularity. This technique involves using pigmented dust (or powder) instead of polish, which is then dried and secured with a clear, liquid formula on top of your nail. This sturdy combination makes this type of manicure last up to four weeks.

Application: You or your nail technician will apply glue to your natural (or fake) nails and then dip them into (or sprinkle on) a colored acrylic powder. Excess powder is shaken off, and an activating topcoat is added to harden the powder. This process is usually repeated a few times to ensure full coverage.

Pros and Cons of Dip Powder Manicures

While the hype is real, is it a healthier alternative to gel and acrylic nails? Consider these pros and cons:

Benefits:

  • Fast-drying without UV lights: One major appeal of professional manicures is leaving the salon with dry nails that won’t easily get ruined. Dip powder treatment is quick and doesn’t use UV (ultraviolet) light, which is another health benefit.
  • More flexible and durable nails: Contrary to some beliefs, breaking a nail can be both annoying and painful. Dip powder manicures are sturdier and more durable, making them a good option if you often work with your hands. Also, your nails will feel lighter and less stiff than gel or acrylic techniques.

Side Effects:

  • Potentially unsanitary: Dipping your fingertips into the same powder jar as others can be a hygiene concern. Dermatologists recommend not “double dipping.” Ask technicians to sprinkle the powder on your nails instead.
  • May weaken your nail base: The dip powder process is strong but can come at a cost. The extensive buffing and filing required can weaken your nails over time, making them prone to breakage.
  • Possible irritants: Dip powders may contain harmful ingredients like methyl methacrylate (banned in many states due to its potential to aggravate asthma and irritate airways), ethyl methacrylate, and toluene (both potentially harmful to fetal development).

Comparing Dip Powder to Other Manicures

Dip powder nails are trendy, but other durable options like gel and acrylic nails exist.

Gel Manicures: You’ve probably heard of these. They resemble regular nail polish but require curing under a UV or LED light.

Application: Apply gel polish to natural or fake nails and cure under a UV or LED light. Usually requires two or three coats.

Pros:

  • Faster process than acrylic or dip nails.
  • Odorless and non-toxic.

Cons:

  • UV lights can be harmful, increasing the risk of skin cancer and other damage.
  • The removal process is harsh and can make nails brittle.

Acrylic Manicures: Acrylic nails use a mix of acrylic powder and liquid monomer to create a thick covering for the nail.

Application: Apply the mixture to natural or fake nails. It cures upon exposure to air and can then be shaped as desired.

Pros:

  • Very strong and long-lasting.
  • Can be repaired at home.
  • Generally less expensive than gel nails.
  • No need for LED or UV light.

Cons:

  • Possible allergic reactions to acrylic monomers.
  • Intense buffing can weaken the nail bed.
  • Often includes harmful ingredients similar to dip powders.

Which is Best?

Traditional nail polish generally has the fewest side effects or harm. It avoids harsh buffing and UV exposure. The best manicure depends on your allergies and what irritates your nails and skin.

Manicure and Pedicure Safety

To minimize the impact on your nails, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends:

  • Avoid messing with your cuticles to prevent infection.
  • Choosing a trusted, certified nail technician.
  • Wash your hands before any manicure.
  • Using sunscreen before gel manicures with UV light.

Kungul Recommendations: 

Kungul suggests always opting for safer, less invasive nail treatments when possible. Consider using natural or organic nail products and ensure your salon follows strict hygiene practices. For a personalized experience, download the Kungul App and stay informed about the safest and healthiest nail care options available.

References:

American Academy of Dermatology – Nail Health

  • https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/nail-care-secrets/basics/healthy-nail-tips

Health Cleveland – Dip Powder Nails Pros and Cons

  • https://health.clevelandclinic.org/dip-powder-nails-pros-cons

FDA – Nail Care Products

Acrylic vs. Gel vs. Dip: Which Is the Most Durable Nail Option?

American Cancer Society – Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk

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