People knows few things about the dangers of fake nails. 

This short paper presents the major complications which can occur depending of the technique used.

The purpose is to focuse on how to limit the complications of false nails. 

Capsules are less dangerous than false shaped nails.

The quality and training of the technicians are essential for an adapted implementation.

Keywords: sculpted nails, fake nails, capsules, shaped nails, ready-made gels, resins, glue, complications, irritation, eczema, nail detachment.

What are the techniques used for fake nails?

There are two different systems: capsules and false nails that are either sculpted or shaped.

  • The "capsule takes the form of a moulded or pre-formed false nail that is glued on with a suitable "superglue".

  • Simply apply a little glue to the nail before inserting the capsule, which is then adjusted. 

  • Once glued, the surface of the capsule is sanded before applying a small layer of resin to homogenize the surface and strengthen the whole. 

  • After air or ultraviolet drying, the varnish is applied.

The capsules are of different sizes and shapes, they are cut to fit the morphology of the nails.

  • "Sculpted nails" are made using a resin that is molded onto the natural nail using a template. 

  • The resin is obtained by mixing a powder and a liquid which allows the making of the paste used to sculpt the false nail.

  • "Shaped nails" are dried in the open air or with a drying accelerator (liquid, UV). 

  • The paste of the false shaped nails is an acrylic resin. 

  • The resin comes in the form of a gel that hardens under ultraviolet light.

The technique of the sculpted or shaped nail uses a ready-made gel or resin that is prepared by mixing powder and a liquid.

The resin cures on its own in the open air, while the gel requires UV light, i.e. it cures or polymerises in the light.

This is called photo-polymerization, hence the name "UV gel".

Gel and resin are applied and shaped on the nail using a small brush. 

A kind of metal or cardboard cover is used to define the nail.


In any case, it is necessary to prepare the nail before applying the gel.

The top of the nail should be lightly filed down to make it easier for the glue or resin to adhere.

This step is the most aggressive, because it makes the nail thinner, more fragile, more brittle, and it also increases the penetration of toxic products.

Electric sanders should be banned as they can cause significant damage.

Whatever the technique, it is necessary to make connections at the base every month since the nail grows about 3 mm each month.

Gel, resin and glue can damage nails

The more the nails have been filed down initially, the more the products penetrate the skin through the nail.

The glues used to fix the capsules would be less toxic than gels and resins and are used in small quantities.

There are complications with fake nails

  • Acrylic resins can cause irritation and eczema on the surrounding skin or more often at a distance from the place of application (eyelids, face, neck).

  • Fake nails favour the detachment of natural nails because the resin sometimes attacks the skin under the nail, the natural nail then takes on a very white color. 

  • Or they can turn yellow or green due to a bacterial infection.

Nail detachment is favoured by nails that are too long and tend to be used as a lever. 

The longer the nail, the greater the risk of nail detachment.

  • Fake nails weaken the underlying natural nail, which becomes thinner and brittle, which explains why natural nails are not very beautiful when the fake nails are removed. 

  • Hence the tendency to no longer do without them.

  • How to limit the complications of fake nails?

Capsules are less dangerous than fake shaped nails.

The quality and training of the technicians are essential for an adapted implementation.


Aesthetic health based on scientific evidence

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