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Silk Wrap Nails
Apr 3, 2006
Can anyone tell me the difference between acrylic nails and silk wrap nails? What about gel nails? I have developed an allergy to the acrylic nails but would like to try the silk wrap or gel if the material they use is not the same as acrylic. Thanks for any help.
hi cruiser, hopefully someone far more informed than me can reply as I am interested in learning more about this myself and have recently posted the basic same question on the Nail Board. While someone there replied, which I appreciate, I didn't feel that it really quite got to the question I was asking. But, I know more now than what I knew before so it was good progress:) From what I know, which is admittedly very little, but to share what I know with you at least, the acrylic nails apply a product using both liquid and powder to the top of your natural nail where an artificial nail is built and extended for length. The silk wrap is very thin silk woven fabric that is glued to the top of your natural nail and wrapped around the end of your natural nail--does not build on length. The silk wrap nails can be more easily removed than the acrylic nails which require more aggressive process which could result in permanent nail damage if not done correctly. As I understand it, the gel nail is an actual form of acrylic; it is just applied through a different process using a light cure. The major difference from what I can tell so far is that the gel nail is less porous, though more flexible and natural looking in appearance, but also has less strength than the acrylics.

My specific question is which among all the nail application systems is less likely to weaken the natural nail structure. The bottom line of the answer I received was basically that it isn't the nail products that weakens the nail, but rather it is the technician--the recommendation was to use a quality high end salon. Well, I was using a quality high end salon for acrylic nails, and it still resulted in natural nail weakening; so, I am just not sure that is be all the answer.

I don't know if it is just me or what, but it seems that professionals just might not really want to answer this question---afterall we must remember that they do make their living applying these products, so it stands to reason I guess.

For me, I tend to be leaning toward silk wraps as all I want to do is strengthen my natural nail and allow them to grow just a little length. I would say if you are happy with your current nail length or are willing to strengthen your natural nail and give it time to grow out to a reasonable moderate length then silk wraps might be an option for you to consider. However, if you are desiring to quickly and/or substantially add nail length, then acrylics or gel nails might be a consideration, but in my experience, and I had acrylics off and on for many years using different technicians, and in every instance my own natural hail health was substantially compromised and weakened and took about 2-3 years to recover nail strength and still experiencing splitting and breakage more than what I had prior to having acrylic nails----but, then I am also about 20 years older now too;)

Looking forward to others posting on their experiences/thoughts:)
Thank you for your reply. I learned alot from your post. I wore acrylic nails for years with no problems, then about 18 months ago I started to develop redness and itching around my cuticle very time I had a fill or new set put on. Tried different salons, same thing always happened. At the same time, I started to get a real itching scalp every time I colored my hair! My hormones must be going wacky as enter these wonderful menopausal years. I amy try the silk nails and see how they work. My nails are so thin and crack so easily. Thanks again. Ann
hi Cruiser, glad my post somewhat helped...hopefully more informed others will post. I am curious, after you removed your acrylic nails weren't your own natural nails weakened and thin? I have had such a problem with that and for that reason quit wearing them since all the inquiries I made about it was that the weakening and thinning of my own natural nail was being caused by the acrylics. It happened to a lot of gals where I worked as well, so I drew what seemed to be a logical conclusion that it was the acrylics. However, the afore-mentioned response I received over the Nail Board suggests that it is the result of improper acrylic process as opposed to the acrylic product itself. Initially I had somewhat dismissed that response as possibly biased since it was from a nail professional who makes her living applying the products...but after your post above which seems to suggest you didn't have the weakening/thinning of your natural nail....if I am reading that correctly?
My nails had started to weaken before I had the nails put on, but much worse after the nails came off. I have used every product you can think of to strengthen them again, nothing has worked. Many ladies my age 51, have problems with thin and cracking nails without ever having worn artifical nails. I know mine are bad for both reasons. While wearing the acrylic nails I did fine until the last few months when I started to get the irritation around my cuticles. I never had a fungus or some of the other problems you can get. I worn the nails for 9 years without any breaks. I would get a new set every 3-4 months. I guess I'm saving money not going to the nail salon anymore, but I do miss it. It was so relaxing for me.
I agree with you. I enjoyed it as well. My time at the salon was very relaxing and uplifting for me. It always felt so nice during the process and afterwards when nails were so nicely groomed and shiny. But, not worth the damage:( I am 55 so I can relate to nail health issues. Right now I am using OPI Nail Envy in hopes of rehabilitating nail health. It is very highly rated elsewhere online by several users. I have not been using it very long (less than a month) but do feel that I am starting to see results with it. However, it is not cheap...about $12-$15 depending on where you get it. But, it seems like it might last well.

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