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LED, UV & UV/LED Gel Nail Lamps - What’s The Difference?

  • 5 min read

Wondering about the differences between LED, UV and UV/LED Gel Nail Lamps? Want to learn more about the gel manicure and pedicure products you’re using, and if they’re safe? We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know. 

Gelous Dusty Pink gel nail polish - photographed in United States on model

What’s the difference between UV, LED & UV/LED Gel Nail Lamps?

All Gel Nail Lamps rely on UV light to cure the Gel Polish, regardless of whether they are UV/LED, LED, or traditional UV lamps. The older UV lamps used UV bulbs that needed to be changed frequently and had slow curing times. Bulbs had to be replaced every 6 months or so, and it took around 2 minutes to cure a layer of Gel Nail Polish. But now, modern Gel Nail Lamps like the Gelous UV/LED Lamp utilise LED bulbs that operate on the UV spectrum, making them more safe and efficient. These LED bulbs can last up to 50,000 hours and only take 60 seconds to cure each coat of Gelous Gel Nail Polish.

All Gel Nail Lamps that use LED technology, such as LED, LED UV & UV/LED Gel Nail Lamps emit UV rays to cure Gel Nail Polish. The UV rays emitted by modern Gel Nail Lamps are very minimal, ensuring they are safe to use.

What sort of UV rays are emitted from Gel Nail Lamps?

Both UV/LED Gel Nail Lamps and LED Gel Nail Lamps predominantly emit Ultraviolet-A (UVA), a type of UV light that is considered safer for human skin compared to Ultraviolet-B (UVB).

Why don’t all brands market their lamps as UV/LED Lamps?

Some brands choose to avoid using the term ‘UV’ in the name of their Gel Nail Lamps to avoid negative connotations. We want to ensure our customers have a clear understanding of the products they are purchasing and how they work, so we market our lamps as UV/LED Gel Nail Lamps.

How does Gelous Gel Nail Polish cure under Gel Nail Lamps?

Gel Nail Polish is formulated with special ingredients that activate when exposed to the UV rays emitted by the Gel Nail Lamp. This process, known as curing, turns the liquid gel into a hard, durable coating in just 60 seconds. The Base Coat and Colour Coat layers will remain slightly tacky after curing to ensure that the next layer can adhere properly, while the Top Coat should be fully cured and dry after 60 seconds under the lamp. 

By applying the Gel Polish in thin, even layers and curing each coat for 60 seconds under our UV/LED Gel Nail Lamp, you can achieve a stunning, long-lasting manicure that will leave your nails looking as shiny as ever. 

Is a Gel Manicure safe?

A gel manicure is deemed safe when the correct Gel Nail products are used and with proper care. While excessive exposure to UV rays has been linked to skin damage, research indicates that the amount of UV rays emitted by UV, UV/LED or LED Lamps used for gel manicures is very minimal, making them safe for use.

Should I be wearing sun protection when curing my Gel Nail Polish?

The risk of sunburn or skin damage from using Gel Nail Lamps is exceedingly low, as the recommended usage time of up to 5 x 60 seconds falls well below the threshold for potential harm. This has been confirmed by reputable sources such as New York City-based dermatologist and nail specialist, Dr Stern, who states that "even if you were to have a gel manicure every week, your chances of developing skin cancer would not be increased."

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also categorises nail curing lamps as low risk when used as directed. A 2013 study determined that even for the most intense lamp evaluated, 30 minutes of daily exposure was below the occupational exposure limits for UV radiation. At this time, there is no evidence linking Gel Nail Lamps with causing cancer. You can feel secure in your gel manicure knowing that the risk to your skin from your Gel Nail Lamp is very minimal when used as directed.

Even though the risk of skin damage is low, we understand the importance of taking precautions to protect our skin. We recommend applying sunscreen 15-30 minutes before using your Gel Nail Lamp, just as you would before heading out for a walk.

What other safety precautions should I be taking when using a Gel Nail Lamp?

Check your medication before gel manicures or gel pedicures

Before your gel manicure or pedicure, be sure to check if any medications you’re taking may have negative reactions to UV light. Dr Stern points out that one such medication is Doxycycline, commonly used for the treatment of acne and infections. If you're unsure about the potential side effects of other medications, it's best to consult with your doctor to evaluate any risks before placing your hands under a UV or LED light. This small step step can give you the peace of mind to fully enjoy your gel manicure or pedicure.

Only use compatible Gel Nail Polish and Gel Nail Lamps

It is important to use Gelous Gel Nail Polish in conjunction with the Gelous UV/LED Gel Nail Lamp. The lamp uses a specific wavelength range that the Gel Polish is specifically formulated to cure within, ensuring a perfect finish every time. Using other brands or products may not be compatible and could result in an ineffective manicure or even damage to your hands or nails.

For flawless, long-lasting nails it’s essential you follow the proper application process using the Gelous Base Coat, Colour Coat and Top Coat, with each coat cured for 60 seconds under the Gelous UV/LED Gel Nail Lamp. If you skip the Base or Top Coat, or attempt to dry your nails without the Gel Nail Lamp, your manicure or pedicure will not adhere to your nails properly or dry, and can lead to under-cured polish that can damage your nails.

Other ways to keep your nails and hands healthy and safe before, during, and after Gel Manicures

  • Regularly moisturise with Cuticle Oil and a Hydrating Hand Cream to keep your hands and nails nourished.
  • Discard Gelous Orangewood Cuticle Sticks after use. These cannot be disinfected, so using them multiple times can become unhygienic. 
  • Replace your Gelous Nail File every three months if you're a frequent user. Keeping it any longer can lead to nail damage (from the buffing plates wearing down) and a bacteria build-up.
  • Before use, carefully read our Application & Removal Guides or watch our step-by-step video tutorials on our Youtube channel.
  • Remove your Gel Nail Polish according to the Gelous Removal Guide. Avoid picking or peeling at your Gel Nails, as you will inevitably peel away part of your natural nail, thinning and weakening them.
  • Take breaks between gel manicures to allow your nails to rehydrate and repair. We recommend a break of at least 1-2 weeks.
  • Be cautious when filing your nail plate to avoid over-filing and causing sensitivity.
  • Avoid contact with your skin when applying Gel Nail Polish and if accidental contact does occur, wipe it off immediately before curing. Curing Gel Nail Polish on your skin can cause mild to serious irritation.
  • If you have extremely short nails or nails that are in poor condition (thin, dry, flaking or split). We recommend using Cuticle Oil and The Aromatherapy Co Hand Cream to improve your nails until they're in a better condition for a gel manicure.

When used correctly, LED Gel Nail Lamps, LED UV Gel Nail Lamps, and UV/LED Gel Nail Lamps are all safe options for achieving a flawless, long-lasting manicure or pedicure. By following the guidelines set out in this post, such as curing each coat for the recommended time and using the appropriate Gel Nail Polish, you can be sure that your gel nails will be applied and cured safely. With the right use and care, you can enjoy beautiful, healthy nails for weeks to come!

Get your Gel Polish and Gel Nail Packs now, with free shipping on orders over $150 to America, Europe and Asia, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada & Hong Kong.

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