Gel manicures may not be the best idea after all. Despite the fact that they have been marketed as the best way to have chip-free nails for weeks at a time, they apparently come with a dangerous side effect: an increased risk of skin cancer.
Dr. Chris Adigun from the New York University School of Medicine says that the UV lamps used to dry the nails damage the skin cells the same way tanning beds do. Gel manicures use three coats of polish and each coat is set using the dangerous UV light.
“Women we frequently get manicures should consider their skin cancer risk,” Dr. Adigun said, according to The Daily Mail.
A study done in 2009 revealed two middle-aged women who had developed tumors in their hands, following repeated exposure to UV nail lights. The study brought to light the fact that the machines at manicure salons aren’t regulated, so consumers don’t know how much exposure they are getting to UV rays.
Dr. Adigun also advises against gel manicures for chemical reasons. Frequent gel manicure users have reported cases of their nails starting to peel and break and Dr. Adigun confirmed that the process does cause nail thinning and brittleness.
It still remains unclear whether or not the weakening of the nail comes from the chemicals in the polish or in the acetone used to remove it, but regardless, there are negative consequences being observed as a result of gel manicures.
Other complications that have received recent attention as a result of gel manicures is premature skin again from the UV lights, chemically-induced skin irritation and delay of diagnosis of any nail problems such as an infection or tumor.
Of course, there are those that disagree with Dr. Adigan’s claims.
A spokesman from Creative Nail Designs says that UV light exposure from a gel manicure is no more dangerous than sitting under strip lighting.
Dr. David Valia, the Director of Research and Development for Creative Nail Designs agrees.
“The amount of energy from a UV lamp during a nail service would be roughly equivalent to the amount of UV exposure one would experience during a typical day of exposure in indoor fluorescent lighting,” he said.