Get the Scoop on Gel Manicures

Few women can resist that vanity that is a beautiful manicure.  Something about nails that are painted and filed just makes everything seem right in the world.  Recently, many women have turned to gel manicures that strengthen the nails and prevent chips and breaks.  As fun as this can be, what if you knew that your every other week manicure was increasing your risk for cancer?

Doctors at the NYU School of Medicine recently warned consumers of the dangers of gel manicures.  While traditional nail polish is dried with the help of an LED lamp, which does not give off UV radiation, once the gel is applied, the nails are dried in a UV light.  According to some doctors, the UV light can damage skin cells in a similar way to tanning beds.  In the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, one expert encouraged women to be aware of their increased skin cancer risk from gel manicures.

Can’t Give it Up?

Gel manicures have grown in popularity partly because your nails are totally dry when you leave the nail salon, and also because they protect the nails from chipping and may last up to twice as long as a traditional manicure.

Experts suggest coating the hands in sunscreen before getting a gel manicure, and to treat your hands as if you were going to spend a period of time in the sun.  Doctors also encourage moderation as a key to preventing skin cancer that may be caused by UV lights used in manicures.

Research and Facts to Support the Idea

According to a study published in 2009, two women with no history of skin cancer found tumors on their hands after regular exposure to UV lights used in gel manicures.  Doctors point to these two cases as the proof behind the theory that these lights can be damaging to the skin.

Because UV lamps are not regulated, it is also difficult to know the correct dose used in the harmful rays of these lamps.  Gel manicures can also cover up cracking, thinning and brittleness of the nails.  The durability of the product may mask additional problems with the fingernails.

Consumer Opinion

Gel manicures are incredibly popular, and many women don’t fear the increased risks enough to make a change.  Consumers who are concerned about the harmful effects of gel manicures may choose a silk wrap or traditional manicure instead.

Beauty or Life?

As with many things in life, women feel forced to choose between the importance of beauty and health.  Although opinions vary, it may be worth a conversation with your doctor before your next manicure, particularly if you have a family history of skin cancer.