Acrylic Nails are applied by mixing a liquid with a powder and the mixture is then brushed on to the nails. The product hardens as it is exposed to the air. There may be a strong odor during the application, but it isn't harmful as long as the room has good ventilation. As your nails grow, you will need to have the new area "filled", generally every two to three weeks. They are removed by soaking your hands in nail polish remover for 15 minutes.
Gel Nails are applied by brushing the gel onto your nails. After each coat you must put your nails under ultraviolet (UV) light for up to two minutes to "cure" (harden) the gel. Nail gels have no odor. As with acrylics, the nail growth needs to be filled every 2 -3 weeks. The gel removes easily with nail polish remover. Gels come in colors, so there is no need to "polish" and this is making them very popular as the color is very durable. The nails are also more flexible. You do have to "start over" (remove all the gel) if you want to change the color.
Here are some TIPS:
Never peel off your artificial nails. Peeling can remove the top layer of your nails, making them look terrible and vulnerable to infections.
Make sure the technician applying the nails is experienced. Inexperienced techs can file your nail plate too thin and damage the nail.
Make sure you see a clean salon and disinfectant being used between clients. Both you and the technician should wash your hands before she starts working on them
Leave your cuticles alone. Don't let anyone at the nail salon cut or push back your cuticles. Breaking the seal between your fingernail and nail bed can lead to infections.
You should never feel any pain after your nails have been applied. If you develop an itch or rash around your fingertips (or your eyes, face, or neck if you have touched your face), you might check with your doctor to see if your are sensitive to any of the ingredients.