Gel Nails While Pregnant and Breastfeeding
As a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, you may need some self-care and time to yourself. What better way to feel put together than a manicure or pedicure. If you have been a fan of gel nails in the past or like the idea of a long-lasting manicure, you may have wondered can you get gel nails while pregnant. Below, we will talk about what gel nails are, their safety while pregnant, and some of the best UV lamps and gel polish kits available on the market today.
What Are Gel Nails?
Gel nails are a manicure with polishes that form a hardened shellac like finish on your natural nails, while still allowing them to breath and provide a long-lasting manicure. They require a three-part process that consists of a base coat, nail polish, and topcoat being brushed over your natural nails and then cured under a UV light for between 30 seconds and 2 minutes for each coat. After it has cured, the layer of gel polish hardens and resists chips unlike regular nail polish. Many gel nail manicures can last two to three weeks without any chipping or peeling.
Gel Nails Benefits
There are many benefits to gel nail manicures instead of a regular manicure done with standard nail polish. These include:
- Allow those allergic to nail resin or acrylic to get a long-lasting manicure
- Feel more natural than acrylic nail extensions
- Removed easily with acetone
- Can last for up to three weeks without cracking, peeling, or chipping
- Has a sleeker finish
- Does not release any odor
- Dry immediately so there is no ruining or smudging
- Holds its color and shine
Are Gel Nails Better Than Acrylic?
Acrylic nails are a combination of liquid and powder placed over your nail with a brush. Nails are filed and shaped to look like natural nails after the mixture has been applied. Each nail is then painted with a base coat, nail polish color, and finished with a topcoat. Two of the main benefits of gel nails over acrylic is that gel nails are much quicker, and they tend to look more natural than acrylic nails do. Another thing that makes gel nails better than acrylic is that gel nails let your natural nails breathe. Acrylics can leave your natural nail weak and brittle after they have been removed, so you may have to wait for them to heal and become strong again.
Can Gel Nails Be Long?
Because gel nails are a polish placed on the natural nail and then cured, it can only be as long as your natural nail. If your natural nails grow long, then yes, gel nails can belong. If your nails do not naturally grow long and you would like them to appear longer, you would have to have an artificial nail tip glued to the natural nail before you have gel polish applied.
Are Gel Nails Safe?
There can be a downside to gel manicures, and it stems from the UV-curing step needed to make the polish harden and last up to three weeks. There is evidence that cumulative damage from the light frequencies that the nail lamps emit can cause DNA damage to the skin. The result can be premature aging of the skin on the hands and an increased possibility of cancer. According to Chris Adigun, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine in an article for WebMD, there is not a simple answer about the danger of UV rays in gel nail lamps to date.
When Is Gel Bad For Your Nails?
The gel itself is not necessarily bad for your nails, but gel manicures can be harmful if done improperly by technicians who are not skilled at or trained correctly to do this kind of manicure. A technician should never use an electric file to roughen up your natural nails before the application, as it can remove layers of your nails and cause breakage and weakness. They should also know what kind of lamp to use and how long. This means it is essential to go to a nail technician you trust in a reputable salon. You can even ask about the process before your appointment to ensure they know precisely what they are doing.
Can I Get Gel Nails While Pregnant?
According to What to Expect, the chemicals in acrylics and gels are not harmful to you or your unborn baby. A word of caution is that because pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell, the smell in a nail salon may irritate you or cause you to feel nauseous. The answer to whether can you get gel nails while pregnant seems to be a yes, but if you feel unsure for any reason, you can always speak to your health care provider.
Can I Get Gel Nails While Breastfeeding?
There are currently no studies or clinical evidence that you cannot have gel nail polish manicures while breastfeeding. To date, there has not been any proof that the chemicals in the gel polishes can enter the bloodstream through the nail bed and end up in your breastmilk. So, if you are breastfeeding and would like a manicure, you should feel safe to do so.
Best Gel Nail Polish Sets
With so many gel polish sets on the market, it can be hard to choose the best one.
Here are the top five:
Best Overall – Red Carpet Manicure Pro 45 Starter Kit
Best Value – Gellen Gel Nail Polish Kit
Best Professional – Vishine Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit
Best Long-Lasting – Beetles Gel Nail Polish Kit
Best LED – Gelish Mini Soak Off Professional Gel Nail Polish Starter Kit
With so many choices, one of these is sure to be a perfect fit for your at-home manicure needs.
Best UV Light For Gel Nail Polish
There are a lot of products on the market to help you get a perfect gel polish manicure without the salon price tag. This is great, too, if you do not want to make a trip to the salon and prefer being able to do your nails in the comfort of your own home.
In November 2021, Cosmopolitan magazine ranked their 13 best UV nail lamps. The list had many price points, but even the most expensive will pay for themselves after a few uses instead of paying for a salon manicure, including a tip.
Ten of their favorite UV lights include:
- SUNUV UV LED Light Lamp Nail Dryer for Gel Polish
- Red Carpet Manicure Salon Pro LED Light
- Kiara Sky Beyond Pro Rechargeable LED Lamp Volume II
- AEVO UV LED Nail Lamp
- JEWHITENY Gel UV LED Nail Lamp
- Le Mini Macaron DIY Gel Manicure Kit
- OPI Dual Cure LED Light UV Gel Nail Polish Curing Lamp
- Melody Susie 2-in-1 Nail Lamp with Nail Drill
- Rio Salon Pro UV & LED Lamp
- Triple O Polish LED/UV Lamp
These UV lights can be purchased online at various retailers, so you do not even need to go to the store to buy one!
How To Do Gel Nails at Home
Once you purchase the suitable kit and supplies, doing at-home gel polish manicures is a pretty straightforward process, and you will quickly become a pro. Each season you can change your colors and stay up-to-date with all the current color trends.
Follow this 6 step process for the perfect gel manicure:
- Cut and file your nails
- Apply cuticle oil to your nail beds
- Buff your nails
- Paint a base coat and cure with the UV light
- Paint the color or colors of your choice, using UV light to cure each coat (2-3 coats)
- Finish with clear top coat and cure it one last time
That’s it! Six steps to an at-home gel manicure that looks like you went to the salon.
How To Remove Gel Nail Polish at Home
The easiest way to remove gel nails at home is to soak them off. It is an easy process that takes just a few items, but it does take some time and patience.
Do not pick or peel at the polish, which can damage your natural nail underneath.
Instead, follow this three-step process below:
- Take a nail file and carefully file off the top coat seal.
- Place a cotton ball soaked with acetone on each finger, and then wrap the tip of your finger in foil. Let soak for 10-15 minutes or longer if the polish does not easily slide off.
- Remove all polish with the acetone-soaked cotton ball, and then make sure to wash your hands and use oil on your cuticles.
If you would like to avoid doing this yourself, you can always go to a nail salon and have them remove the gel polish for you. Or use this super awesome Gel Polish Remover Kit that will help you remove your gel nails safely and effectively in the comfort of your own home.
Gel Polish Remover Kit
There have been a lot of myths and old wives tales regarding having your nails done when pregnant or breastfeeding, but for the most part, there is just no scientific evidence or clinical studies to back those claims up. If you are interested in going to a salon or doing your nails at home, you should feel safe about can you get gel nails while pregnant. If you are ever unsure, always speak to your doctor before proceeding.