Can You File Gel Nails? The Answer Might Surprise You — PHOTOS

Given their long-lasting abilities and never-ending color options, I'm willing to bet the gel nails craze is going to continue strong into 2016. If you recently got your first pair but are struggling with any chipping or peeling, you might be asking yourself, "Can you file gel nails?" It's a super common question, but you may not love the answer.

Since gel nails adhere directly onto your natural nails, anything you to do the gel will impact your nails underneath. If you're not a trained professional but wanting to file your gel, you run the risk of doing so incorrectly and seriously damaging your natural nails in the process.

Laura Bliss, a professional nail technician and teacher at the London College of Beauty Therapy explained to Pose that you should "try not to file [gels] at home because it may break the seal" and lead to even more chipping or peeling gels. A better idea than trying to file and fix a damaged gel yourself is knowing how to properly care for them in the first place. Since chances are high you could do more harm than good filing yourself, it's better to just schedule an appointment with your nail tech if you run into trouble.

Luckily, there's a plethora of resources for how to take care of gel nails properly, and I've scouted out the best tips!

1. Apply Cuticle Oil

Butter London Holiday Handbag Cuticle Oil, $19, Ulta

Keeping your nail bed healthy is crucial for making gel nails look good as long as possible, and Butter London's cuticle oil is one of my favorite choices for hydration.

2. Use Gel Top Coat

Gel Top Coat, $9.50, Amazon

Adding a layer of fresh gel top coat every few days will help keep your nails thick and strong.

3. Avoid Extra Hot Water

Long baths can be blissful in the winter, but, according to Byrdie, steamy hot water can actually cause your gels to lift off. Yikes.

4. Add Decals

Bat My Lashes Nail Decals, $12, Helpsy

If you have to wait for an appointment to get your gel filed but it's chipping, nail decals will act as a cute band-aid in the meantime.

5. Wear Cleaning Gloves

Ultimate House Gloves, $15, Amazon

Women's Health shared that chemicals in certain cleaning products can wreck your gels. Always wear cleaning gloves before scrubbing down your home!

6. Avoid Hand Sanitizer

Olive Oil & Aloe Vera Hand Soap, $4, Target

Similar to harsh cleaning agents, hand sanitizer can strip your nails of oils. Dried out cuticles and nail beds make it easier for gels to crack, so opt for a very (very) gentle hand soap instead.

7. Push Back Cuticles

Orange Wood Cuticle Pushers, $3, Amazon

Putting nail polish over grown-out cuticles can eventually cause gel to peel. Luckily, you can easily push your cuticles back every few days to keep your gels in top shape as long as possible.

Want more beauty tips? Check out the video below, and be sure to subscribe to Bustle’s YouTube page for more hacks and tricks!

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