Gel nail application provides the strength of acrylic nails with the appearance of natural nails. Unlike acrylic nails, gel nails only harden when exposed to UV light. Gel polishes are similar to nail polish – you have a base coat, polish color and top coat. Each coat has to be cured in the UV light for two to three minutes. Both types of nails undergo chemical process to bond to the natural nail, however, there are some differences between the two.