Gel manicures hit the beauty scene just three years ago, but they’ve already grown into a $200 million industry.

“I’d say 99 percent of the people that come in want the gel polish manicure,” Jennifer Wirth, an instructor at Elite Nails School said.

Gel manicures can last up to three times longer than a regular manicure, because of the special nail polish that is used. Polymers in the polish harden when they are put under an ultraviolet light. Madison native Roxanne Johnson has a standing appointment at Elite Nail School to get gel manicures.

“Gel manicures last longer and shine more than a normal manicure,” Roxanne Johnson said.

Unlike normal manicures gel manicures actually harden more as time goes on. The hard polish is extremely hard to get off and polished nails need to be soaked in acetone and then scraped to be successfully removed. It’s a process that dermatologist Dr. Bob McDonald cautions people to go through, because it can weaken nails.

“When nail techs get in there with acetone it tends to make the skin very dry, and when they start to scrape it takes layer of the nails off making the nails atrophic,” McDonald said.

McDonald advises his patients to take breaks in-between manicure sessions to let the nail breath. Another way to minimize damage is to go to a trusted salon that avoids scrapping the nails.

“You need to allow enough time for the nails to be wrapped in tin foil and cotton so the polish lifts right off,” Wirth said.