Throbbing Pain after GEL Nail Removal

I am in desperate need of advice right now. My fingernails are thin and my fingertip is throbbing in pain. I can barely touch anything.

The nail tech used an electric file to shave my gels 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.

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.

The picture is of my nails after ow ow. I am not sure if you can see the very red blotches. What is this? I think I can just see down to my irritated nail bed. :sad:

Thanks in advance.


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March 29, 20190 found this helpful

You must have an infection. I would see a doctor as soon as possible.

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March 29, 20190 found this helpful

I have felt the same horrible pain from having nails removed, and like you said, you can't even touch a thing or even touch fingers together.

My past nail person (used the electric grinder, I call it), on mine to remove the parts of the painted on acrylic that was still stuck on my nails, and she grinded right on through my nail - and then I went through the ceiling practically. My fingers were raw feeling for days before I could even touch anything without yelping.


I believe it will take several days before your fingers and nails feel right again, as they have been injured.

I (personally) would not put anything on them, because you need air to be able to get to them, which will help them heal faster.
*use the nail hardener" when your nails are in very good condition*

You could put gauze around them, still allowing air to them, which the gauze is only to help you remember, since we automatically reach for things, and then "that owie" is what reminds us. It's awful that happened, and I'm so sorry that they're hurting as they are.

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March 31, 20190 found this helpful

Many others have experienced this too:


Many suggested to paint a couple layers of Hard as Nails or the kind you are using to keep a barrier from your nails since your nails have been sanded down too thinly so it's affecting your nerves. You could also put cuticle conditioner.

If the pain persists, you should see a doctor.

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March 31, 20190 found this helpful

I've felt that exact pain and it's horrid. It just takes time. But in the meantime, use a clear strengthening coat of varnish on your nails, the ones with nutrients. If it still hurts in 3 days, I'd get it checked. I'm so sorry.

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