Gel manicures are all the rage–but are they really safe? For those who are looking for a manicure that lasts 2-3 weeks, gel manicures have become an increasingly popular choice. These manicures differ from traditional manicures in their formulation and drying process, which involves letting each coat of polish set and harden for 30 seconds under a UV light.
Sounds great. But is it safe? Not surprisingly, if it seems too good to be true–it may well be. There are some safety concerns associated with these seemingly miraculous manicures. Firstly, some salons are not using “real” gel manicures, instead mixing acrylic products with powders like methyl methacrylate, a chemical that was banned as a carcinogen by the FDA!
Secondly, although there is no clinical data that directly links the use of UV lamps for nail drying to skin cancer of the hands, if you are a person who is at-risk for skin cancer, it might be wise to avoid gel manicures because of these lamps. The gel manicure treatment involves exposing your hands directly to UB light, much the way tanning beds expose your whole body to the same light. Lifetime exposure to UV rays does indeed increase the risk for developing skin cancers, and the best way to limit your risk is to limit your exposure.
Is getting a manicure that lasts a week or two extra really worth the cost (nearly double that of a regular manicure) and exposing yourself to potentially dangerous chemicals and UV rays? Think twice before gelling!