Gel nail polish, a type of manicure that lasts for an extended period of time, has become increasingly popular in recent years but some doctors question if it’s safe.
Gel nails require that the user puts their hand under a UV nail light, a move that could be potentially dangerous, according to dermatologist Dr. John Humeniuk of South Carolina.
"Some concerns were raised several years ago about the possibility of skin cancers from using ultraviolet lights,” Humeniuk told Fox Carolina. He warned that these manicure lamps use the same type of light as tanning beds, "which does cause wrinkles and skin cancers if you do use it for a lot of exposure."
Humeniuk recommends visiting a salon that uses LED lights, which produce less UV. However, dermatologist Dr. Lyndsay Shipp, the lead author on a report investigating if UV nail lamps cause skin cancer by the Georgia Regents University in Augusta, told NPR that the overall risks are low.
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After studying the amount of UV coming out of nail dryers at 16 different salons, Shipp found that the amount of UV is generally low, but the amount produced by every machine varies. Dr. Chris Adigun, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center, told NPR that the UV could be bad for your skin by accelerating the aging process. She recommends wearing sunscreen and photoprotective gloves with the fingertips snipped off for manicure appointments.
Humeniuk also voiced his concerns over the chemicals used in gel manicures since during the procedure, fingers and nails are soaked in acetone.
"The use of these gels these acrylics the light will actually cause the original nail plate to actually separate from the bed and now you have a gap where moisture or bacteria and yeast can grow, so this actually is more of the bigger problems," Humeniuk said.
Adigun, on the other hand, said she understands the appeal of gel manicures.
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"It's the manicure for the working woman, it really is," she said. "I'm very sympathetic to making this manicure work in women's lives."
Image via Becky Stern/Flickr, Fox Carolina