Many first time clients will end up in our salon claiming that gel polishes have damaged their nails in the past and are unwilling to give them a second try. I then have to explain to them the following. Gel polishes are ok, the nail tech was at fault.
When gel is removed properly, the nail is smooth and pink. An aggressive removal can change the top of the nail plate, creating white spots and an uneven surface. Most technicians have clients back to back and are working in time constraints, so they rush the job. By forcing the gel polish off the nail plate they are scraping chunks of the clients nails with it.
A good rule for the nail technician to go by is the 60 sec/ 60 minute rule. Great care should be taken when soaking the nails in any liquid for 60 seconds. These nails are hyper sensitive to all instruments for up to one hour. This is when the damage is usually done.
Proper removal consists of following the manufactures instructions, taking the necessary time to allow the product to properly soften, and being gentle with the instruments that come in contact with the nail plate. A wood stick is still the least aggressive tool for the job.
As a client, make sure the nail tech has a soft touch when pushing the gel polish off your nails. As a nail technician, make sure you book enough time to do the removal properly.