It turns out, nail polish remover is more damaging to our nails than we thought

I doubt many of us were under the impression that nail polish remover is good for your nails. A chemical that magically removes paint from your nails (aka, paint that’s impossible to get off of any other surface)? It can’t be that great. But your nails are basically just dead cells, just like your hair, right?

Well, a recent study says this isn’t 100 percent accurate. Sure, your nails are just dead cells, but that’s just the top layer. As you get deeper into the nail and its many layers, you start to tap into a series of sensitive nerves. But that top layer is super important, as it protects those nerves! According to Dr. Jessica Krant, a Dermatology assistant professor at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, “beneath your nail lies a delicate network of sensitive nerve endings and blood vessels.” And your nail plates? They “serve as a defensive barrier between the outside world and those nerves and vessels.”

So, when you feel discomfort or pain when you’re soaking your nails in polish remover, that means that barrier has been damaged.

Gel polish (rather, the gel application process) in particular seems to be the most damaging to nails. To apply gel polish, many times a technician files down the nail bed, which in turn, “can damage the nail, harm the flesh beneath it or cause trauma to the tissue around it.”

And when removing the gel manicure, often times people peel it off, or technicians will scrape the remaining polish —not good for your nails, like at all. The study, “Nail damage from gel polish manicure,” published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology connected the “application and removal of gel nail polish to nail weakness, brittleness and thinning—all of which could lead to sensitivity.”

In order to keep your nails happy and healthy, Kant recommends giving your nails breaks between treatments like polish or gels or acrylics. And make sure to moisturize your nails every day! Think of them like any other part of your body. They require care and love!

(Image via Shutterstock)