The Potential Risks Of Gel Manicures To Be Aware Of
Most of the women in my friend circle have gel or acrylic nails. I can definitely see the appeal — they make your nails stronger, longer, and the polish lasts for weeks longer than regular polish. Although there are definitely aesthetic perks to having gel nails, there are also hidden dangers that you should know about if you get them regularly.
If you’ve gotten gel nails before, then you’re familiar with the process of holding them under a UV light in order for them to dry faster. And some research has shown a link between repeated exposure to UV/LED nail lamps and melanoma/skin cancer. On the contrary, other research has revealed that exposure to nail lamps in moderation is, in fact, safe. So, where do we go from here?
Dr. Elizabeth Hale, Senior Vice President of The Skin Cancer Foundation, sheds some light on the topic. “Ultraviolet radiation-emitting nail lamps have become a regular part of most trips to the nail salon, causing many patrons to question manicure safety. These lamps are typically used to speed-dry regular manicures, and they are actually necessary to set gel manicures. Some nail lamps are called ‘UV’ lamps, and some are called LED lamps, but both emit UV radiation. They predominantly produce UVA rays, which have been linked to both premature skin aging and skin cancer,” she explains.
“However, even the most intense of these devices presents only a moderate UV risk – a far lower risk than that presented by UV tanning devices,” she continues. “To play it safe with gel manicures, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen to hands 20 minutes prior to UV light exposure. If getting a regular manicure, the safest bet is to allow nails to air-dry naturally, avoiding the drying lamps altogether. Remember, all nail lamps produce UV radiation,” she says.
To sum it up? It might not be a bad idea to stay away from things that have even the potential to cause melanoma or skin cancer. In these types of situations, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. So although you may love getting gel nails done by a professional, maybe doing a regular polish job is a better (and cheaper!) idea in the long run.