Home » 8 Easy Ways to Prevent Gel Nail Allergies for DIY Manicures

8 Easy Ways to Prevent Gel Nail Allergies for DIY Manicures

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You know how awesome gel nails look, right? But did you know that gel nail allergies are becoming more common these days according to the British Association of Dermatologists? Yikes! But don’t worry, I’ve got your back. The good news is that gel nail allergies can totally be prevented. When I 1st started doing gel, I had no clue what I was doing. I made a lot of mistakes that could have led to a potential allergy. I don’t want you to be like me. So, keep reading to find out 8 easy ways to avoid gel nail product allergies for DIY at-home gel manicures!

This is a uv gel nail lamp that is used to cure gel nail products.

What is the main cause of gel nail allergies?

Gel nail allergies happen when too much ‘wet’ or uncured gel gets into the skin. It can be because of how you apply the gel or the gel not fully curing under the UV lamp. When this keeps happening,  your immune system reacts which causes allergies. So, it’s important to be super careful and to make sure the uncured product doesn’t touch your skin. It is also important that is cured fully with your nail lamp. Below, I’ll break this down in more detail.

This is a photo of someone who has gotten a gel nail allergy. They are treating it with this ointment.

1. Don’t Get Gel on the Skin

Gel polish has cool properties, but it’s not like regular nail polish. You need to be extra careful while applying it. The number one rule is to keep the gel away from your skin. Yup, that’s the secret to preventing allergies! So, when you’re doing your nails, be neat and careful with the gel. If a little bit gets onto your skin! Just grab an alcohol pad and wipe it off(70% does the trick). Once your gel has finished curing, don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly to get rid of any residue on your skin from the gel nail products. The best way to prevent a gel nail allergy is to avoid gel contact with your skin.

This is a good example of a neat gel application. Gel nail products are not all over the skin.

2. Avoid Cheap Gel Lamps

Okay, here’s the deal – not all UV lamps are created equal. Those super cheap lamps you see on Amazon might not fully cure your gel. But…Why is that a problem? Well, if the gel isn’t fully cured, it’s like walking around with wet nails for weeks! Over time, that wet gel may get into your skin and that’s a recipe for allergies. To stay safe, it’s best to invest in a good-quality lamp, even if it costs a bit more (between $50 to $80 should do the trick). These lamps work like magic and fully cure your gel, keeping allergies away. It’s an investment, but gel nail lamps are not something you buy weekly.

The lamp I use is from Liddy Art Store and the information is linked below if you are interested.

This is a photo of a gel nail lamp that I  don't think is powerful enough to fully cure gel nail products.

3. Wipe Off the Sticky Layer

So, you’ve cured your gel? Great! But did you notice there’s a sticky layer on top? What’s up with that? Well, that sticky stuff is actually a layer of uncured gel. Eek! We definitely don’t want that hanging around. The solution? Grab an alcohol pad and wipe off that sticky layer. Not only does it prevent the uncured gel from getting into your skin, but it also stops random things from sticking to your nails(Trust me on this). So, remember, always wipe it off!  You can find alcohol pads almost anywhere. But, I suggest getting ones with 70% alcohol. They work like magic to clean off the uncured gel layer. Oh, and guess what? You might find 99% alcohol pads, but they can make your gel nails look dull because they take away the shine. So stick with the 70% ones for shiny, happy nails!


I don’t wipe off the sticky layer between each gel coat. I only wipe off the sticky layer at the very top. The sticky layer between coats is actually a good thing. It helps the gel layers stick better together. Also note, if you use nonwipe top coats, you don’t have to worry about this step.

These are the 70% alcohol pads I recommend using to wipe off the sticky layer of gel nail products.

4. Don’t Just Flash Cure

Sure, those flash-curing lamps on TikTok look cool, especially with gel x tutorials. But here’s the thing – flash curing is great for reducing heat spikes in thicker gels(the heat sensation you might feel under the gel nail lamps), but it doesn’t fully cure your gel polish. So remember, the flash cure is the first thing you do. Then, fully cure your gel with a lamp. Your nails will thank you!

This is the type of lamp you want to fully cure your gel with after you flash cure it.

5. Try Hema Free Gel Products

Hema is one of the common ingredients that can cause allergic reactions for some people. But wait, there’s more! There are other potential irritants in gel that you might be allergic to. To lower your risk of allergies, you can use low-hema or hema-free gels. But remember, if you use these products and get them all over your skin, you’re still at risk. So be careful! Product safety is key.

Learn more about Hema-free gel products here. Glitterbels

Hema free gel nail products, can reduce your risk of getting gel nail allergies.

6. Say No to Press Ons as Gel Extensions

All artificial nails are not the same. Press-on nails are cool, but they can’t be used as gel extensions. Gel extensions are pre-made nails made out of gel, while press-ons are pre-made nails made of plastic. UV light can’t go through plastic, so if you use drug store press-ons for gel extensions, there’ll be a lot of uncured gel on your nail plate. That can lead to allergies, and we definitely don’t want that for your nail bed! So, let’s skip this TikTok trend, okay?

This are press-on nails made out of plastic. These are great for glue, but should not be used as gel nail extensions.

7. Don’t let Gel Spill into your Cuticle Area

When you’re doing a gel manicure, it’s important to be careful not to let the gel spill onto your skin, especially near your cuticles. That’s the skin around the bottom of your nails. Gel polish can easily get on your skin in that area. So, to avoid that, be neat when applying the gel. Leave a small gap between your natural nail and the cuticle while applying the gel. This will stop the gel from getting into your cuticles, making a mess, and causing potential allergies.

Want to know more about this? Here is my gel nail application process

There is nice spacing between the nail product and her cuticle area.

8. Wipe off the Gel Polish Bottleneck

After a while, the bottlenecks of your gel might get a build-up of gel. This can spill onto the outside of the bottle(especially with thicker gels like Builder). I recommend wiping off the caps of your gel with alcohol pads from time to time.

If your gel bottle looks like this with gel all over it. It's a good idea to wipe it down with an alcohol pad.

How do you know if you have an allergy?

Knowing if you have an allergy is crucial, especially when using gel nail polishes. First and most important, try to prevent allergies by doing a proper gel application. But if you notice any rashes or your skin gets irritated after using gel polish, you might have an allergy. Watch out for signs like red, bumpy rashes, or feeling itchy. If you see any of these signs, it’s essential to take action right away to keep your skin healthy. 

Signs you have a gel nail allergy

What should you do if you experience any skin irritation?

If your skin feels itchy or looks red and irritated after using gel polishes, it’s important to stop using the product right away. Don’t ignore it and talk to a dermatologist. They can give you helpful medical advice and suggest what you should do to make the affected area feel better. Remember, it’s essential to take care of your skin and get the right help when you experience any skin irritation.

Talk to a doctor if you are experiencing a gel nail allergy


Gel polish manicures are great because they last a long time and have cool features. But, we need to be careful with them because they’re not just regular nail polish. It’s essential to handle them with care. This goes for other products like dip powder too. But let’s talk about avoiding the ‘dip flu’ another time. Just remember, when using gel nail polish, apply the product properly to keep your natural nails healthy and looking great.

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