N.Y.C. dermatologist Dana Stern says gel manicures pose two risks: UV exposure from curing lights and peeling from acetone removers. A study by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brown University researchers suggests the minimal UV light probably doesn't increase the risk of skin cancer but may accelerate the aging of the skin on hands.
Scroll down to start recovering with our 3-step program.3-STEP REHAB STEP 1: BECOME A DIY DIVA Gel polish is a pain to remove, and speedy manicurists often soak nails in harsh, drying acetone and then scrape off the color. Take your time with removal by using an at-home kit like Sensationail ($9; drugstore.com), a foolproof system using squares of foil to help acetone gently lift the polish. STEP 2: TAKE A BREAK Alternate a gel mani with a regular one. N.Y.C. manicurist Patricia Yankee recommends six weeks on, two to four weeks off, and dosing nails with a nourishing conditioner like Duri Rejuvacote ($14; duricosmetics.com), which mends with keratin and calcium. STEP 3: WRAP 'EM UP Nail polish appliqués (try Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Tight Rope and Glitz Blitz, $9 each; target.com) are nearly as durable as gels and give you cute tips quickly. Even better? They don't require UV light or acetone.Read MoreLess