Beauty Clinic: Gel nails nightmare!


Q. My daughter treated me to a gel nail session. They looked lovely and lasted well. But once removed my nails became very weak, peeling and flaky. Is there anything I can do? A. Sad to say, this seems to be a relatively common problem. Abrading the nails, the high concentration acetone soaks and scraping off the varnish are the likely causes, plus the chemicals in the gel formula may add to the problems.

If you tend to have soft, thin nails anyway, gel is not a wise option. However, if you are blessed with healthy nails, gel should be a durable choice, lasting 14 days to a full month. A good tip then is to use nail/cuticle oil twice a day; it will penetrate the porous polish and nourish the nail bed, according to experts. Also, when the polish starts to chip, don’t be tempted to peel off the polish as it tends to take the top layer of your nail with it.

However, in your situation our advice is as follows:

• Keep nails short; tidy with a soft emery board or crystal file (not a metal nail file). Nail Magic• Use a reputable clear nail strengthener as directed (usually top up daily for an initial period), eg Jica Nail Magic Treatment/£10.45 from, or Sally Hansen Hard As Nails/£4.75 from

• Apply a nail/cuticle oil twice daily. Many people swear by neem oil for nails. Try The Organic Pharmacy Lemon & Neem Nail Oil/£24.95 for 30 ml.,

• Always wear gloves to wash up, handle paper (it’s very drying) and do jobs like gardening or grooming horse

D Lux• If you don't take a multivitamin supplement, consider taking one to make sure you are getting all your nutrients. We like Viridian Nutrition 40+ Multi/£24.95 for 60 capsules, from

• Anecdotally, taking a green food supplement such as Sun Chlorella A has benefitted some people including Sarah. £21.95 for 200 mg, from Vitamin D may help too – have you ever noticed how well your nails grow in the sunshine? Better You DLux 1000 Spray/£7.15 for 15 ml. (100 doses).

Finally, it is a case of being patient and continuing to do the right thing by your nails. And, once you get them back in fine fettle, continuing to give them lots of TLC. Or you will be back where you started.