Q&A

How can I avoid the dreaded heat spikes with gels?

Q.

How can I avoid the dreaded heat spikes with gels?

A.

Excessive heat spikes felt on the nail bed can be caused in several ways. Understanding how they occur is the key to their prevention. Excessive heat spikes are caused whenever unusually rapid polymerization or hardening occurs. When polymerization occurs too quickly, excessive heat will be released in a short time period to create a heat spike. This can expose the nail bed to temperatures exceeding 115°F (46°C) and can lead to nail plate separation from the bed (onycholysis). A likely reason for heat spikes is the use of the incorrect UV lamp to cure the product. Nail technicians should only use the UV nail lamps that are specifically designed by the manufacturer for use with that particular UV product. Applying the UV gel too thickly can also lead to heat spikes, whereas applying thin coats and properly curing between each coat helps avoid heat buildup. Finally, overly aggressive filing of the nail plate can friction burn the nail bed and make it more sensitive to heat that might normally go unnoticed. Gentle filing protects the nail plate from friction burns that injures these sensitive tissues. 

— Doug Schoon is chief scientific advisor for CND. 

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