During the procedure, a special solution is applied to the nails and then hardened under a UV light for a longer-lasting manicure.
Consumer Reports says the procedure, in the hands of an unskilled technician, can lead to infection and severe pain.
First, the technician lightly roughens the nails with a file, then brushes an all-in-one gel onto the nails only, not the skin around them. Next, the gel hardens under the lamp. And finally, the technician removes any residue with a cleanser.
But one customer says during her gel manicure, the electric file slipped and cut her skin. Then the technician dipped the injured finger into a cup of powder chemicals, which seeped into her skin and caused nerve damage.