Why is My Gel Polish Peeling Off?

a hand on process of gel polish

Published: Aug. 27, 2022

It can be annoying when you have to ask yourself “why is my gel polish peeling off?” following your visit to the salon. 

Unfortunately, the most common culprit behind such situations is the manicurist. In some cases though, the blame can also fall on you because of your actions.

Let’s narrow things down and simplify so that you address the issue and finally have that perfect manicure that you’ve always wanted. So without further ado, let’s get started!

What’s Gel Polish?

hands of client and a manicurist doing gel polish

Gel manicures aren’t like regular manicures because of how they’re done.

For starters, you have to know that gel polish consists of acrylic oligomers and monomers that bond with exposure to UV or LED lights. During this process, the liquid gel on your nails shall near-instantly harden into a chemical-resistant coating.

A gel manicure that’s done right will last longer than a regular manicure. That, on top of the fact that more work is needed to get a gel manicure done, makes them more expensive.

One last thing that your should know is that gel polish and the UV or LED light that cures them are all completely safe. Nevertheless, it’s still advisable to limit your exposure to UV lighting.

With all that being said, we believe that gel manicures are 100% worth it.

Reasons Why My Gel Nails Peel Off:

a question mark about gel polish peeling off
  • Cuticles weren’t prepped in the right way.

Improperly preparing the cuticles can cause gel polish to peel sooner than it should.

You see, when your cuticles’ sides aren’t trimmed properly or pushed back enough, a ledge that gel polish can lifts gets created. Therefore, whether you are doing your nails at home or in a salon, keep an eye on your cuticles as this shall greatly help prevent them from peeling.

  • Your nails aren’t sufficiently dehydrated.

Water naturally makes your nails expand. 

As a result, applying gel polish to nails that are too wet can cause that polish to chip after it’s cured. Hence, make sure your hands are dry before you put on gel polish and cure it.

  • The lamp failed to cure properly.

The lamp that’s used to cure your nails may fail to cure them properly. How come? Its light may be old and too dim to penetrate all the layers of your gel polish. Besides that, you may have not cured your gel nails for as long as you should have.

  • You’ve got excessively thick layers.

I’d have to say that with gel polish, a little goes a long way.

The best way to avoid applying excessive amounts of gel polish is to take it slow with the stuff and don’t gob on it. 

Now the reason why you shouldn’t have too many layers of gel polish is that the stuff shall chip, peel off, or crack much more quickly than it normally would.

  • It’s a habit for you to pick your nails.

Never pick on manicured nails. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve applied regular nail polish or gel polish. Doing this on a regular basis will definitely cause your manicure to peel off.

Furthermore, picking on your nails can damage them. Unbeknownst to many, applying any sort of polish to damaged nails is never a good thing since it can make that polish more brittle.

  • You failed to patch your nail after it chipped.

Say you’re working and your nail accidentally chips. The best thing to do in such a scenario is to head over to the salon as soon as possible to fix the problem. Sadly, this is not always possible.

As such, we recommend always bringing a top coat and nail file on your person. That way, if you ever have a chipped nail, you can immediately patch it up to avoid getting it more damaged.

The Bottom Line

Now that you know, there’s no more reason to ask yourself why do my gel nails peel off. In addition to that, you finally know what to do in case your gel polish does get peeled off.

With all that being said, despite their several downsides, we at Salons Suites of Palm Beach recommend gel polish over anything else. 

The reason for that is because, when applied correctly, they’re long-lasting. More importantly, they look a lot better than regular nail polish due to their more vibrant coloration after curing.

(Related: How To Do Polygel Nails At Home: A Beginner’s Guide)

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Why is My Gel Polish Peeling Off?

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