Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Gel Manicures and Lupus....

Gel manicures are very popular right now.  What's not to love?  Two weeks of chip free polish and having it dry instantly before leaving the salon.  However after a recent gel manicure I noticed that my nails were very damaged, much more than a friend of mine (who doesn't have Lupus) who also got a gel manicure at the same salon.  I started wondering if my reaction to the manicure might have something to do with my Lupus.

I am obviously not a doctor or a health professional, so my thoughts and opinions on this are just own thoughts and opinions.  If you have more information on gel manicures and lupus, please comment below!

I started Googling and what I found was interesting.  Many Lupus patients know that exposure to UV light and sunlight can cause lupus flares.  With a gel manicure, they put your hands under the UV light to cure the polish.  It's not for a long time, but it got me wondering if any exposure is too much exposure.

I also started wondering what it is about a lupus patients fingernails that might make us more sensitive to the gel polish.  I didn't find any great answers, but I did find a blog post by one of my favorite Lupus bloggers, Despite Lupus, who said she also experiences some damage to her nails post gel manicure.

On the contrary, I also found a few articles saying that gel manicures are fine for lupus patients, but that we should apply sunscreen to our hands before the UV exposure.

My takeaway from my reading, and my own personal experience, is that if you have Lupus, be prepared that your nails might take more of a beating than the average person.  And definitely apply some sunscreen to your hands before the UV lamp exposure.   However, because lupus is personal, I'm sure there are many Lupus patients who enjoy gel manicures with no problem.

I'd love to hear your experiences!  For now I'll be sticking to regular polish!


  1. thank you for posting this!! I have lupus and I've never gotten my nails done before. And everyone keeps telling me to get get because it's better for your nails and I'm just like, "but the uv rays!!" lol. I am going to use sunblock and see how it turns out because you really never know until you try. Because I didn't know if I could get tattoos, but I have three and I've had no problem so thank you for the sunblock advice!!

    1. Hi Chelsea,
      Let me know how it turns out for you! I do get regular manicures just not gel...but I've heard a lot of people with lupus get them successfully.
      Thanks for reading my blog & keep in touch! :)

  2. It happened to me also! Before I knew I had lupus.

  3. I know I am super late to read this, but I am so glad I found your blog! I was diagnosed with lupus a couple months ago. It actually took 6 months to diagnose... long, painful days. I used to get gel manicures all the time, but now I am a bit hesitant. But that's alright, I have a lot of fun painting my own nails! Anyway, thank you for sharing all your experiences. It makes me feel like I am not alone and that I can still live a long and happy life with lupus <3

  4. Hey! My lupus is a "light one" attacked my joints but after a month it was under control. I have been off any meds for 2 years and symptom free for 5. I moved to China and started getting gel nails every 2 weeks. my nails burnt like crazy but thought it was normal because of the UV. Now I think i have a flare. Arthritis is back and im crying cause im so far away from home, my doctor and family. I found a good chinese reumatologist who went to Stanford for a year speaks amazing english. He prescribed celebres once a day. today is the second day i take it. i felt so much better in the morning but now my joints are super stiff and i walk like an old lady.I also have a one year old who holds on to everything and stands up all the time so its not easy. Ive been getting so much help from my husband and coworkers but still freaked out and waiting for tuesday for results, The only thing i think could have triggered it was the nails as i had them quite often. I had the healthiest pregnancy so dont know what went wrong now. Can anyone tell me how long a flare lasts??? will I have to go on meds again like plaquenil calcort and imuran? thanx everyone

    1. I don't know how long ago this was posted or if this will ever reach you but, in case it does, flares can last from a few days to a few months depending on what triggered them/your body.

      As with everything in Lupus, it heavily varies from person to person.

      As far as Meds go, again, that also depends on your flare (how bad is it) and your doctor.

      The best advice I can give you is to just be patient, take as much care as you can of yourself and let it pass.

      Flares and Meds always pass.

      Best luck to you.

  5. Thank you for posting your thoughts. I to have Lupus and have had my nails done with Gel. My experience's painful. Regardless of putting any UV protection to my hands. The tips of my fingers all around get shooting pain the moment they go under the light. Also, when it comes time to remove the Gel, the pain is even more intensified with the Acetone touching any part of the skin.
    So when I choose to get my nails done it is only for the utmost special occasion. Because I know that with this beautiful artwork on my nails will come pain. Oh and it does take at least 4-5 months for my nails to heal.

    And yes for me it's worth it. For that moment of beauty on my nails. As you know with Lupus you start to loose yourself inside and out. Hair loss, memory loss, lesions or rashes that may not go away.
    Love and gentle hugs
    Marina Rose

    1. Hi Marina, it's interesting you say the experience is painful. It was painful for me too! I mentioned that to a friend who doesn't have lupus and she thought I was crazy. Love to you! xo Nikki

    2. Oh my goodness I'm so glad you posted about the pain! It kills me too but I've been sitting through the as well since I have to have manicured hands for work and with them lasting so long this has been the easiest way to do it. My friends all think I'm crazy saying how much it hurts, now I know I'm not!

  6. Glad I found this. I started getting gel manicures a few months ago and get them every couple weeks. I didn't even think about the UV lights, probably because it is for such a short time. However, last time I had them done I noticed that my fingertips hurt while they were in the light. This was the first time that had happened. I then realized that my fingers had started being more numb since I started having the manicures. I hadn't put the two together before the pain. I'm supposed to get them done tonight but am not sure what to do. Maybe I will try the sunscreen approach. If that doesn't work, looks like I am done with them.