Xanet Scheepers
Digital Lifestyle Editor
2 minute read
3 Jan 2022
12:07 pm

Save cash and your skin: How to remove your gel nails at home

Xanet Scheepers

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Picture: iStock

Going to the beauty salon to get your gel nails professionally removed can be a schlep, especially if you are not planning on getting a new set of nails right away.

That being said, Dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommend taking a nail polish holiday for a week or two to give your nails time to repair themselves, as gel manicures can cause nail brittleness, peeling, and cracking.

The AAD also warn that repeated use can increase the risk of skin cancer and premature skin ageing on your hands.

If you don’t have the budget or time to visit your nail salon to remove your gel manicure, you can do it yourself at home in a couple of easy steps.

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How to remove your gel manicure at home:

Board-certified dermatologist Dr Shari Lipner has shared her tips to safely remove gel nail polish at home without damaging your nails.

You will need:

  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cotton balls
  • Scissors
  • Acetone (100%)
  • Plastic food wrap
  • Washcloth
  • Towel

What to do:

It’s best to work on one hand at a time.

  • Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the cuticles and surrounding skin of each nail, to protect your skin from the acetone.
  • Cut the cotton balls to the size of your nails to avoid getting acetone on your skin.
  • Soak each piece of the cut cotton in acetone.
  • Place each piece of soaked cotton wool on top of the nail it was cut to fit and wrap the nail with plastic food wrap. While you want a tight seal, you don’t want to cut off circulation either.
  • Leave the plastic wrap on for 10 minutes before removing.
  • Most, or all of the gel nail polish should be gone now.
  • Remove any remaining gel nail polish with a washcloth that you have just run under warm water. Only rub the nail and not the surrounding skin.
  • Wash your hands or feet with a gentle soap and water to remove the acetone.
  • Gently rub petroleum jelly into your cuticles and the skin around your nails every day for seven days.

It’s really important not to pick or scrape off the gel nail polish as this can damage your nails.

Watch the video below to see how to remove gel nails at home:

In the below video, they are using foil instead of plastic food wrap. However, when wrapped around your nails, plastic creates a tighter seal than foil, so the acetone is less likely to drip.