Nail damage from gel polish manicure

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2012 Mar;11(1):27-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2011.00595.x.


Manicures can result in nail damage via instrumentation, nail polish, nail polish removers, and artificial nails. We report nail weakness, brittleness, and thinning in five subjects after the application of a new manicure system called gel polish and removal with acetone and manual peeling. All subjects complained that the polish was very difficult to remove and that their nails became much thinner after the procedure. Pseudoleukonychia and onychoschizia lamellina were noted on examination. One subject underwent ultrasound and reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) measurements of nail plate before and after the gel polish application, which showed thinned nail plate (0.063 vs. 0.050 cm and 0.059 vs. 0.030 cm, respectively). Overall, we call attention to the adverse effects of gel polish manicures in five subjects. In addition, our case illustrates potential utility of ultrasound and RCM in measuring nail plate thickness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Gels / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Middle Aged
  • Nail Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Nail Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Nail Diseases / pathology
  • Nails / diagnostic imaging
  • Nails / injuries*
  • Nails / pathology
  • Ultrasonography


  • Cosmetics
  • Gels