Hardening Gel during Application or Storage
The Problems that arise and how to avoid them
What is Ultra Violet Light? (UV)
All lights are characterized by different wavelengths (spectrum), which you can see on the map here, such as the electromagnetic spectrum. The visible light for humans occurs between about 400 nanometers (nm) and 780nm. Anything above that is infrared (which only some animals, such as cats, for example, can be see).
Ultraviolet light appears in the spectrum of about 100 nm. to 400 nm., and are further divided into groups A, B and C.
A basic knowledge to understand is that the LED lights are actually UV lights because they emit light that is in the UV range (especially UV-A).
Gel Polishes are using photo initiators that, once exposed to correct wavelength of light, will absorb energy and will activate other molecules which form the reaction of converting the liquid nail polish into a hard, plastic-like, substance. The problem is that there are many photo initiators, and nail varnishes manufacturers are trying to use photo initiators that perfectly match the UV lamps they are selling. Seeing that the UV LEDs are not the only ultraviolet light emitting tools, manufacturers have many UV wavelengths to work with.
The majority of clear or lightly coloured photo initiators in the market today are activated at wavelengths that are outside of the typical wavelengths emitted by the LED lamps. Thus, because the CFL compact fluorescent lamps have a broader wavelength, it is usually more effective in gel polymerization.
The biggest UV light-emitting source is none other than the sun. The sun emits EM radiation (radioactivity) almost throughout the whole electromagnetic spectrum from 100nm up 1,000,000nm (1 mm).
UV Categories Spectrum
|UV||UV C||UV B||UV A|
|100nm – 400nm||100nm – 290nm||290nm – 320nm||320nm – 400nm|
UV Lamp Polymerization Spectrum
|UV Lamps||CCFL Lamps||Led Lamps||Sun|
|340nm – 380nm||320nm – 400nm||365nm – 410nm**||100nm – 1mm|
** If a LED manufacturer that uses a LED gel that is rated for 375 nm. will use bulbs that emit from only 370 to 380 nm. If uses a gel rated for 405 nm will use bulbs that emit from only 400 to 410 nm.
All Lamps Emit UV Light.
UV emit sources are not only those mentioned above but even the desk lamps and lights in the ceiling of the room in which you work.
After time passing, the varnish manufacturing materials for nails have changed several components from their original formulas so that they able to polymerize in the spectrum LED Lamps instead of the spectrum of typical lamp UV. Some of the reasons are:
- The range of UV Lamp is lower and it takes longer to polymerize the material and the range of the Lamp LED is higher and takes less time.
- The UV lamps are much less life.
But changing the formulations of the varnishes, manufacturers have created products much more sensitive to light (bringing the UV spectrum length needed by the photo initiators) to polymerize more rapidly.
Product Hardening During Application or Storage
We have often heard, by Nail Technicians, to complain that their Base or their Top hardened during application around the cap or the bottle, even on the brush. Therefore, DO NOT BLAME your material but blame the storage conditions, even the room conditions which prevail during application of the material to the nails.
An important reason for this is that the bottle is left exposed in front or near the polymerization lamp during application. This is a great mistake which not only may harden the material on the brush or on the bottle, but can also expose the integrity of the rest of the material found inside your bottle making it totally useless. Once in the polymerization has started, the process is not reversible and the material if it has begun to polymerize and harden cannot go back to its original form.
Another important reason that most of you never take into account is the UV radiation from the sun. As mentioned above, the infrared light radiation spectrum of the sun almost covers the entire range of the electromagnetic spectrum including the spectrum length covered by the polymerization lamps.
As in the above case, the sun’s rays can cause our material to harden on the brush very often. This can occur not only on a sunny day as the sun hits directly into our room but can still happen on a cloudy or a rainy day where we see no ray of light in our space.
Since the UV spectrum of the lamps used for the gel polymerization is not visible to the human eye, so the length of the solar spectrum that passes through your house or studio which cannot be seen, can cause the hardening of the material.
This case the commonly encountered by people who work close to a shop window or to any window at all. The fact that we cannot see UV light of the sun entering in our place does not mean it is not there and cannot damage our material.
This is also usually encountered more for Base or Top because they are clear and do not contain colour pigments, thereby allowing light to penetrate very easily. Also the products tend to exhibit these specificities are products polymerizing in LED lamps due to the higher length range needed for the polymerisation and make them more sensitive to light.
Correct Gel Storage Conditions
- Always keep all chemicals and other materials away from children.
- The ideal storage temperature is between 20 ° C and 24 ° C.
- This temperature may vary depending on the material. The manufacturer shall state the storage temperature on the bottle – jar or the packaging or in instructions for use enclosed with the product.
- We keep the product always in the shade, without direct sun radiation or other UV light source.
- Ideally in drawer away from the polymerisation lamps, windows and shop windows.