Understanding Heat Spikes in Gel Nails: Causes and Prevention

In the realm of beauty and nail care, gel nails have emerged as a popular choice for many clients. They offer a glossy finish that lasts longer than traditional nail polish. However, as Nail Technicians, we often encounter challenges in our quest to provide the perfect gel manicure. One such challenge is "heat spike." In this article, we will delve into what heat spikes are, their causes, and how to prevent them.

What Exactly is a Heat Spike?

A heat spike is a sudden sensation of warmth or burning that a client might experience when their gel nails are being cured under a UV or LED lamp. This sensation, also known as a "curing sensation," and can vary in intensity. Some clients might describe it as a mild warmth, while others might find it more intense and uncomfortable.

Heat spike called by UV lamp

Identifying the Causes of Heat Spikes

There are several factors that can lead to heat spikes:

Thick Application of Gel: When gel polish is applied too thickly, it can retain more heat. This excessive heat can then result in a spike during the curing process.

The Specific Gel Used:It's worth noting that some gels, particularly hard gels, produce more heat than others when they are cured. If you’re using low-quality gels and your clients consistently complain of uncomfortable sensations, it may be worth considering changing products. While heat spikes can occur with all types of gels, you always want to use high-quality materials on your clients’ nails for the best and safest practices.

Best gel nail polish for high quality gel nails application

Intensity of the Curing Lamp: Lamps that have a high intensity can cause the gel to cure rapidly, leading to a swift increase in temperature. If your curing lamp has a range of settings and your client feels a heat sensation, you can lower the settings on your curing lamp.

Gel Nail Damage:If a client has previous nail damage or naturally thin nails, they will be more prone to heat spike. This is something you can examine when you remove the previous layer of gel and discuss any potential issues with your client and warn them of any uncomfortable sensation. During this stage, you can check if it is safe to apply a new coat of gel depending on the level of damage. It's important to note that over filing can also cause nail damage and be the reason for heat spike, so make sure you don't over file the nail when prepping it.

Preventive Measures for Heat Spikes

Apply Gel in Thin Layers: It's essential to ensure that the gel polish is applied in thin and even layers. This technique not only results in a more polished finish but also minimizes the risk of heat spikes.

Gel nail polish

Opt for Gradual Curing:Instead of placing the client's hand under the lamp for a continuous duration, begin with short intervals of light exposure. Gradually increase the duration as the curing process continues.

Correct Gel Nail Removal:Improper removal can be the main culprit for nail damage. Make sure you are performing a safe gel nail removal, as well as ensuring that your clients don’t pick or peel their nails.

Stay Informed: As Nail Technicians, it's crucial to stay updated with the latest products and techniques in the market. Some of the newer gel formulations are designed to minimize heat spikes.

Educate the Client: It's beneficial to inform clients about the potential for heat spikes. Assure them that it's a brief sensation and will dissipate shortly. If the sensation continues for a more prolonged period, refer to the earlier step and take intervals during the curing process.

Gel nail polish application

As noted above, consider investing in a top-tier lamp that comes with adjustable settings to cater to different gels and client preferences. The same goes for the product you use, as poor-quality formulations are more likely to cause heat spike or gel nail damage. 

While heat spikes can be a cause for concern, with the right knowledge and techniques, they can be effectively managed. As Nail Technicians, our primary goal is to ensure our clients have a comfortable and satisfying experience. By understanding the intricacies of the gel nail process, we can achieve this goal with ease. If you have any questions about heat spikes, just click the chat icon below, and we will be happy to help!