Air-pockets in acrylics and gels.
I have a question about those mysterious "air-pockets" that appear in the center of acrylics. Reading your response about the reason for these makes sense except I am having the same problem with gels, with which I have no control over product ratio - any suggestions? One other question - I have some clients on whom I applied gel overlay but for some reason on these client they chip and lift after a couple of days. I have tried applying it ultra thick, ultra thin and curing for extended periods but to no avail. These particular clients all have very short, thin brittle nails that won't hold nail enamel or acrylic either. is there any hope? Nicole, New Zealand 9/02
1) "Old technology" gels, gels with too much photo initiator content, gels made from "cheap" or low quality resins; all of these can cause extensive shrinkage or brittleness problems the same way that ratios can with acrylics. Gels with excess shrinkage will get center pocket lifting and become brittle.
Typically, gels that cure in low wattage lamps (lamps that use an # of 4,6 or 8 watt bulbs) tend to shrink more than gels that cure in lamps that use 9 watt bulb technology (1,2,3 or 4 bulbs). I would suggest changing to a better quality of gel brand if you are still using "old technology" type gels and lights to help alleviate this problem once and for all.
2) Could be the brand of gel (i.e. excess shrinkage away from the free edge, see above answer for more info). But even with high quality gels and new technology there will still be some degree of shrinkage (this is true even with acrylics), and that is especially apparent in a new overlay, for this reason FORMS are imperative when doing a new overlay to help to ensure a complete seal of the free edge as the gel shrinks during the curing process. Extend out onto forms just slightly when doing overlays to ensure a complete seal of the free edge; this will also allow you to shape and file the new nail to perfection with no fear of FE separation, and ensure that you have built the nail to the proper thickness for durability and beauty.
Also, naturally brittle nails need enhancement products that are more flexible (especially as clients get older you will see this happen), while softer nails generally (but not always) do better with harder products. And for everyone else in between, you can start with your "standard" and then customize in one direction or the other from there. It's all about balance, and tailoring the program to the client. One product just won't work for every client in every situation. And the rules aren't hard and fast as to what to use when and where either, and then just when you figure it all out, the rules can be changed by the clients lifestyle at any time...
Take Care, -----Barb!
Barb NailSplash AKA "The Gel Queen"