Q&A

What causes burning with UV gel lights?

Q.

I recently tried out a UV light-cured gel system on myself. A couple of times, when letting the gels cure, I experienced a really intense burning sensation. What causes this and how can I avoid it?

A.

Doug Schoon: All nail enhancement products and adhesives release small amounts of heat as they cure or polymerize. Under normal circumstances, the heat is released slowly over several minutes and is usually not painful. Sometimes, the chemical reactions get out of control and the heat is released in a quick burst. The faster a UV gel hardens, the more likely it is to create excessive heat. So, anything that causes the gel to set quicker will contribute to the burning sensation. Very warm rooms or products, applying the product too thickly, and brand-new UV lamps or lights are examples of things that speed up curing and create this heating effect. Overfiled nail plates or damaged beds are much more sensitive to heat, much like an aching tooth is more sensitive to pressure. The best way to avoid the problem is to control the temperature in your work area (use low wattage table lamps), apply several thin coats of gel rather than one or two thick layers, and avoid over-filing the nail plate.

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