How Often Should You Take a Break from Gel Nails?

Gel nails keep your nails looking good for longer. Even working in a fast-paced environment, you’ll still have dashing nails. It’s easy to get addicted and have them on 24/7.

Unfortunately, having gel nails all the time is harmful to your nail health. It would help if you took a break to allow your natural nails time to rejuvenate.

How often should you Take a Break from Gel Nails? 

Too much of anything is poisonous. So, you’ll need a break from gel nails. 

Typically, we recommend taking a week off from gel nails every eight weeks, assuming you get your nails frequently. This gives your nails time to rehydrate, rejuvenate, and self-heal. You can speed the recovery by applying an emollient directly to the nail and cuticle oil.

You can also massage your fingers with a good cuticle oil and nail strengthener. This will help rejuvenate, rehydrate, and repair damaged skin and cuticles around your nail area.

And if the damage is too much, consult with your nail tech. You’ll come up with a solution together. Or a medical practitioner for a comprehensive nail repair prescription.

Do you really need a Break from Gel Nails? 

Taking a break from gel nails isn’t pleasing. You might feel ‘naked,’ and you’ll not look as dashing as usual. And do you really need a break from gel nails?

Yes, you really need a break from gel nails. Unless you want to deal with damaged natural nails after some time. Breaks are essential since gel polish can damage natural nails. 

Worn over long periods, this polish can seep into the nail bed. And this can cause your nails to split and peel- symptoms of unhealthy nails. Worse, the acetone that removes gel polish can cause nail thinning and peeling.

How Many Back-to-Back Gel Manicures can I Get? 

You may enjoy getting back-to-back gel manicures if you are a serial gel mani wearer. But how many back-to-back gel manis are safe?

Well, getting back-to-back gel manicures without a break is a nightmare waiting to happen. We recommend getting a maximum of two back-to-back manicures before taking a break.

More than two back-to-back manicures may cause nail plate suffocation. And we all know this will spell doom to your nails. You’ll end up with dry and broken nails. But taking the break will allow you to assess the damage and nurse the nail back to health.

Signs that you should Take a Break from Gel Nails 

Gel nails can take their toll on your natural nails. It would be best if you were on the lookout for these signs. They’ll tell you that gel nails have taken their toll on gel nails. And you need a break!

Discolored Nails

Are your nails yellow-stained? Or generally, discolored? Well, this is one of the tell-tale signs that you need a gel manicure break.

And the most common culprit for yellow-looking nails is deeply pigmented gel polish. You’ll look beautiful in it, but you risk staining your natural nail underneath. In the beginning, you may notice the stains take on the color of the gel polish.

However, as you apply back-to-back polish, the nail may turn yellow. So, you’ll need to take a break to allow another natural nail to grow in place-without stains.

And the next time you visit a nail tech, ask them for a good quality base coat to avoid a repeat of the yellow stains. Better still, take regular breaks from gel polish.

White Streaks on Nails

You probably suffer from keratin granulation if you notice white line-like streaks on your nails. And it would be best to take a break from gel nails immediately.

 For gel manicure fans, Keratin granulation is usually caused by the acetone remover. Acetone severely dehydrates nails. Not to mention how its use can cause the accidental removal of the superficial layers of the nail cells. The result? Keratin granulation.

When you notice this sign, massage cuticle oil on your fingers daily. The practice will boost circulation and keep your fingers moisturized. And after that, you can be sure of healthy nail growth.

Dry Cuticles

When removing gel polish, harsh ingredients (acetone) leave the cuticle area dry. If you notice dried cuticles or even hang nails, it’s time for a gel manicure break. But why?

Dry cuticles will begin to peel, creating a good breeding ground for bacteria. The result? Fungal infection and consequently weakened nails.

 Take a break and nurse your nails back to health to avoid this. Cuticle oil daily will help keep cuticles moisturized, and the dryness will soon ease.

Thin and Weak Nails

And the all-time tell-tale sign that your nails need a break? Thin and weak nails. But how do thin and weak nails come about?

Gel nails can dehydrate natural nails; by using acetone in the removal process. This thins the nail bed, weakening the natural nails and making them more susceptible to breakage. Exposure to UV rays is also a primary culprit, as it weakens the nails.

Gel nails may weaken natural nails if you peel them yourself. We understand that there’s a lot of information online. But, if you are not a professional, refrain from removing DIY gel polish.

Otherwise, you’ll end up stripping your nails of the protective barrier and causing them to become flimsy. And if you’ve already DIYed and noted flimsy nails, it’s a sign you need a break.

What Happens if I Leave Gel Nails on Too Long? 

We know we’ve discouraged you from getting back-to-back gel polish. And you shouldn’t get gel nails every week. So should you be leaving gel nails on too long, then?

 Well, you shouldn’t do this either. Ensure you visit your manicurist every two to three weeks to get your gel nails removed. Otherwise, if you leave your nails on too long, here’s what might happen.

Nail Weakening

Leaving your gel manicure on for longer times is quite tempting. After all, you’d wear it for weeks without any chipping. So no one notices it’s an old manicure. But you’ll soon be dealing with weakened nails.

A recent study found that gel polish damages nail plates. The extra weight from the nail growth can begin pulling at the edge of your nails. And this causes nails to become brittle, thin, and tear in the end.

You also must remember that the longer you keep gel nails on, the harder it becomes to remove them. So, you increase the chances of peeling and tearing off nails during removal, which ultimately causes weak nails.

 The only way to avert such a crisis is to ensure you don’t keep your nails on too long. And take regular breaks from nail polish.

Nail Discoloration

Leaving gel nails on too long can also cause nail discoloration, especially if you use darker, highly pigmented gel polish. The longer your gel polish lasts on your nails, the more likely it is to seep into the nail plate. And the result? A discolored nail. 

To avoid this, ensure your gel polish only extends up to three weeks before you take it off. You can switch between bold and subtle colors to prevent constant color seeping onto the nail plate.

Fungal Infections

And the worst consequence of having your gel nails too long? A fungal infection. Overextending your gel manicure can introduce potentially harmful bacteria to the nail. How?

 Once the manicure stays for too long, the gel begins to lift. Moisture can seep in under the gel. This will be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. And before you know it, you’ll be dealing with a fungal infection.

How to Rejuvenate Nails after a Gel Manicure 

Your nails need a vacation. A well-deserved one, for that matter. After all, they’ve given you the foundation for a dashing look for weeks. During this vacation, you should allow your nails to rejuvenate.

Here’s how;

1. Make Nail Moisturization a Routine

If you want to rejuvenate your nails, then start moisturizing them regularly. Non-moisturized nails are the number one cause of broken and brittle nails.

You can moisturize by massaging cuticle oil on your nail area. This way, you get to improve circulation around the nail area. And the result is stimulated nail growth.

And while moisturizing, be sure to limit exposure to water. If you must expose your hands to water a lot, glove-up. Excessive exposure to water can lead to the peeling and splitting of nails. And gloves will keep moisture out.

2. Use a Nail Strengthener

Your nails have become weak from all the acetone. And a nail strengthener may be the rejuvenator for your nails.

Nail strengtheners provide an additional layer of protection for the nail plate. They will create a flexible film on the nails, protecting them from damage.

On top of that, a good nail strengthener will impart vitamins and minerals to the nail plate. And you can rest assured that after absorbing these nutrients, your nails will be stronger and less brittle.

3. Keep your Nails Trimmed

People underestimate how much of a menace long nails can be, especially when rejuvenating your nails after a gel manicure. With long nails, you’re prone to hitting them on surfaces, which can further weaken your nails.

Trimming your nails will prevent breakage and snags. And they can re-grow much stronger and in peace.

4. Rejuvenate your Nails Inside and Out

Lastly, we recommend rejuvenating your nails inside and out. And this all boils down to eating well and keeping your body hydrated.

Nail health is a reflection of your overall health. So, if you are not eating well, you’ll have difficulty rejuvenating your nails.

 We recommend taking biotin and collagen-rich foods such as salmon, avocados, and leafy greens. And if you can’t get these foods, nail-strengthening supplements would still be fine.

Can I Get Gel Nails Every Week? 

Well, you can get gel nails every week. But from a professional standpoint, you shouldn’t get gel nails every week. When you get gel nails every week, your nails are filed down and soaked in acetone every week.

And we all know how dangerous a regular undertaking of these processes is to natural nails. The acetone soak causes extreme drying and nail peeling. And excessive filing can lead to nail thinning.

You are left with thin, flimsy nails. Even when you apply gel polish, there’s still the risk of them falling off. And this is a result all gel mani enthusiasts dread. So, it’s better to avoid getting gel nails every week.

How Long should you Take a Break Between Gel Nails? 

We’ve already agreed that you must take a break from gel nails every eight weeks. But how long should this break be? Well, how long your break should depend on the condition of your nails.

 If you’ve observed signs that you should take a break from gel nails, take a two-week break. And when you’ve nursed your nails back to health, we recommend you take these breaks twice every eight weeks.

If you haven’t observed any signs of damage, take a one-week break. Here, you’ll have the luxury of taking a break at least once every eight weeks.

This will allow your nails sufficient time to rejuvenate. And you won’t have to deal with the damaged nail nightmare soon.

Will Gel Manicures Ruin your Nails? 

Well, when used in moderation, gel manicures shouldn’t ruin nails. But gel manicures can ruin nails over time if you don’t take breaks and seek professional application and removal processes.

Some people are also allergic to the chemicals found in gel polish. And it can ruin their nails. For instance, a recent survey of 2118 people who used gel polish had individuals complain of itchiness, swelling, and burning during application.

So, to avoid such incidents, consult with the nail tech to get gel polish that won’t affect you adversely.

 Again, be careful with the removal process. In the same survey, participants reported weak and split nails and white smudges during removal.

This is probably due to the use of acetone remover. So, always get a gel manicure holiday to give your nails time to relax.


The bottom line? Your nails deserve a gel break. Take a break at least once or twice every eight weeks. Before deciding when to take a break, check the health of your nails.

The weaker the nails, the longer the break needed. And the frequency of the break will be longer too.

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