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

  • 6 min read

Curious about the differences between LED, UV and UV/LED Gel Nail Lamps? Want to know more about the gel manicure and pedicure products you’re using, and whether they’re safe? We've got you covered with all the information you need. 

Gelous Dusty Pink gel nail polish - photographed in Australia on model

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

All Gel Nail Lamps use UV light to cure Gel Polish, regardless of whether they are UV/LED, LED, or traditional UV lamps. Traditional UV lamps used UV bulbs that needed to be replaced frequently and had long curing times. The bulbs were replaced every 6 months or so, and it took around 2 minutes to cure each layer of Gel Nail Polish. However, modern Gel Nail Lamps like the Gelous UV/LED Lamp use LED bulbs that operate on the UV spectrum, making them safer and more 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. However, the amount of UV rays emitted by these lamps is 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 primarily emit Ultraviolet-A (UVA), a type of UV light that is considered safer for humans when compared to Ultraviolet-B (UVB).

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

Some brands prefer to remove the term ‘UV’ from their Gel Nail Lamp names to avoid any negative associations. We want our customers to have a clear understanding of the products they are purchasing and how they function, 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 react to the UV rays emitted by the Gel Nail Lamp. This process, known as curing, quickly transforms the liquid gel into a hard coating in just 60 seconds. The Base Coat and Colour Coat layers will remain slightly tacky after curing so that the next layer can adhere properly, whilst the Top Coat should be fully cured and dry once you’ve placed your nails under the lamp for 60 seconds.

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 create a beautiful, long-lasting manicure that will leave your nails shining more than ever before. 

Is a Gel Manicure safe?

A gel manicure is considered safe when the right products are used correctly and proper care is taken. While prolonged exposure to UV rays has been linked to skin damage, research has shown that the amount of UV rays emitted by UV, UV/LED or LED Lamps used for gel manicures is very minimal, making them safe to use.

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

The potential for sunburn or skin damage from using Gel Nail Lamps is extremely 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 Dr Stern, a New York City-based dermatologist and nail specialist, 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 considers nail curing lamps to be low risk when used as directed. A 2013 study found that even for the most intense lamp evaluated, daily exposure of 30 minutes to this lamp was below the occupational exposure limits for UV radiation. Further, at this time, there is no evidence linking Gel Nail Lamps with causing cancer. You can feel at-ease with your gel manicure knowing that your Gel Nail Lamp poses very little risk to your skin when used correctly. 

While the risk of skin damage is minimal, we understand the importance of taking precautions to protect our skin. We recommend applying sunblock 15-30 minutes before using your Gel Nail Lamp, just as you would before going outdoors. 

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

Check your medication before gel manicures or gel pedicures

Prior to your gel manicure or pedicure, make sure to check if any medications you’re taking may have adverse reactions to UV light. Dr Stern points out one such medication is Doxycycline, commonly used for the treatment of acne and infections. If you have any doubts about other medications and their potential side effects, it's best to consult with your doctor to determine any risks before exposing your hands to UV/LED light. This simple step gives you the assurance and 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 the Gelous Gel Nail Polish in combination with the Gelous UV/LED Gel Nail Lamp. The lamp operates within a specific wavelength that the Gel Polish is specifically formulated to cure within, so you can create a flawless finish every time. Using different brands or products may not be compatible and could not only result in an ineffective manicure but also cause damage to your hands or nails.

For beautiful, long-lasting nails it’s crucial you follow the proper application process, using the Gelous Base Coat, Colour Coat and Top Coat, curing each layer under the Gelous UV/LED Gel Nail Lamp for 60 seconds. Skipping any of the coats or attempting to dry your nails without the lamp, will result in a manicure or pedicure that won't adhere to your nails properly or dry, and could result in 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 apply Cuticle Oil and a nourishing hand cream to keep your hands hydrated.
  • Dispose of Gelous Orangewood Cuticle Sticks after use. As these are unable to be disinfected, it is unhygienic to use them multiple times.
  • If you're a regular user, replace your Gelous Nail File approximately every three months. Holding onto it any longer can lead to nail damage (due to the buffing plates wearing down) and a build-up of bacteria.
  • Read our Application & Removal Guides thoroughly before use, or head over to our Youtube channel to watch our handy step-by-step video tutorials.
  • Remove your Gel Nail Polish in line with the Gelous Removal Guide. Refrain from picking at your Gel Nail Polish as you will inevitably peel away part of your natural nail, leaving it brittle and weak.
  • Avoid getting back-to-back gel manicures. We recommend a break of at least 1-2 weeks, this time will allow your nails to rehydrate and repair. 
  • Take care not to over-file the nail plate as this may cause sensitivity.
  • Avoid Gel Nail Polish from touching your skin, if contact does occur be sure to wipe it off before curing. Curing Gel Polish on your skin can cause mild to serious irritation.
  • If you have extremely short nails or if your nails are in poor condition (thin, weak or split), do not use Gel Products. We recommend using Cuticle Oil and a nourishing hand cream until your nails are in a better condition for a gel manicure.

When used as directed, all LED Gel Nail Lamps, LED UV Gel Nail Lamps, and UV/LED Gel Nail Lamps are safe options for achieving stunning, long-lasting manicures and pedicures. By following the recommendations provided in this post, such as curing each coat for the recommended time and using the right Gel Nail Polish, you can ensure that your gel nails will be applied and cured safely. With proper usage and care, you can enjoy flawless, healthy nails for weeks to come!

Get your Gel Nail Polish and Gel Manicure Kits now, with free shipping with orders over $100 to Australia including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and more! We also ship throughout New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Europe and the rest of the world.