Gel manicures have become increasingly popular in recent years because they tend to last longer without chipping than traditional nail lacquer. There is one problem with this type of manicure, however. In order for the polish to harden, customers are directed to put their hands under a dryer that uses ultraviolet light. The UV light is a necessary step in the manicure process because the gel polish requires it to polymerize. However, regular exposure to UV light poses serious health dangers that regular gel manicure customers should be aware of, according to Today.
Researchers have known for a while now of the dangers of ultraviolet light. It has been known to increase the signs of aging of the skin and increase one’s risk of developing certain types of cancers. This is why doctors so often warn against using tanning beds, as users run a significantly higher risk of getting skin cancer. You might not think that putting your hands or feet under a UV lamp once or twice a month is that serious. After all, it’s not like you’re putting your whole body under the light. However, Dr. Vishal Patel, assistant professor of dermatology at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., explained why these types of dryers are just as dangerous.
Are gel manicures safe? What to know about UV exposure, skin cancer risk https://t.co/ACExCz9BDl— 3rd Hour of TODAY (@3rdHourTODAY) May 18, 2019
“It’s like tanning beds for your hands. We’re seeing a lot of patients having not only melanomas, but all types of skin cancers around the finger tips and the cuticles.”
Karolina Jasko is a college student that has been getting regular manicures for years. Not only did she use acrylic nails, but had gel polish applied over the top to increase the longevity of her manicure. One day she noticed a strange bruise and odd thin line on one of her nails. It turned out to be melanoma. Thankfully, doctors were able to get rid of the cancer, but doing so required removing the entire nail.
Stories like Jasko’s are just now starting to emerge that are likely to begin to dissuade women from getting these types of manicures. However, these are still fairly new manicures so it may be several more years before researchers have further statistics regarding just how much risk you’re putting yourself in by agreeing to expose your nails to the UV light.
Dr. Chris Adigun, a dermatologist, noted that manicurists will likely be hesitant to stop using the ultraviolet light because they want their customers to leave satisfied.
“You can imagine a nail salon customer is less likely to complain about a well-cured — potentially over-cured — gel polish manicure than they would an under-cured manicure.”