Intense throbbing pain after tech peeled my gels off, please help!

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New Member
I am in desperate need of advice right now. I had gone my life without ever getting a manicure until about 3 months ago when I decided to try something new and get gel nails. Anyway, I needed to get them removed for an upcoming exam I am taking and I went to my nail tech for removal.

She used an electric file (I am not familiar with the terminology, but the little rotating drill bit that files lol) to shave them down and then took a metal instrument and DUG it underneath my nail, pushing between my nail and the gel and ripped them off. Obviously, all except one did not come off cleanly with a pop. Most came off in pieces. It hurt so much; I had to stop her for a break every now and then. Then, she used a regular file to "get the rest off", brushed off the white dust, and sent me on my way. ***I have just learned from a friend that peeling off the gel is apparently not how a nail tech is supposed to do this?! I am so confused.

It was the MOST painful thing I've ever felt on my nail or so I thought until now (5 hours later). My nails are paper thin and red and weak. They are basically translucent and like..moldable? As in I have a dent in one where I pressed it.

She told me they were going to be sensitive to hot and cold water for today and tomorrow. But they constantly ache. If I touch them lightly with my own fingertips, they hurt fiercely. I grabbed a cotton swab and--bam--they hurt. I've been trying to avoid touching them/knocking them (boy you don't realize how much you use them until you're trying to be careful).

Does anyone have advice on how to care for them? I have applied cuticle oil like every hour and to my surprise, each time my nails seem to suck the oil up in seconds.

My nail tech said to get a nail hardener and apply it. I bought OPI formaldehyde free for sensitive/peeling nails. Does anyone know when I should apply it?

I am very nervous that the pain will continue into next week when I need to use my hands for work. Any advice welcome. I don't know how people do this; I'll never get nails done again.

Thanks in advance



Active Member
I cant advise on this but omg how awful for you! They 100% should have been soaked of safely. I would complain in the shop, stop her doing this to anybody else.


Active Member
Sack her as your tech and complain!

Not much you can do to stop them being thin, they will grow out. You can paint them with regular polish to try stop them being so sensitive


Super Moderator
Staff member
Are you sure it was gel and not some kind of MMA acrylic? Did you put your hands inside a special light box to cure it or did she mix powder with a liquid solution before applying and it cured almost instantly?

Sounds like you saw an unqualified Nail Tech as everything you’ve said is just plain wrong.
You should never use an electric file to remove gel.


Active Member
That is absolutely not the way to remove any nail product. They should've been soaked off.

She's taken layers of your nails off, they will grow back in time and hopefully the pain will subside soon.

I think the opi product is like a base coat, so I'd apply a couple of coats, then possibly follow that by a top coat so there are a few layers to protect the nail again knocks.


New Member
That sounds awful! After having my acrylics off, my new nail tech recommended opi’s Nail envy and it’s done wonders for my nails!

This is a late reply so your nails should be much stronger now. If this were to ever happen again, look for a nail tech that offers a strengthening treatment like IBX helps to repair the nail.

I hope you reported her if she works in a salon and asked for them to give her the appropriate training in how to remove enhancements properly and safely.
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