Everyone loves a good long-lasting manicure, so many of us opt for the chip resistant gel manicure. This process involves using a UV or LED lamp to cure and harden the gel polish. With the recent soar in popularity of gel-based manicures that involve the use of a UV lamp within the last decade, there is concern that getting regular gel manicures and pedicures can increase the risk of skin cancers on our hands, fingers, toes, and below the nail bed.
A recent study exploring the effects of the use of UV light on human and mouse cells in a laboratory showed that there was an increase in cell death and DNA mutations (which play a role in the growth of skin cancers and precancerous spots). As expected, the constant UV radiation increased the risk of skin cancer development, however the study was conducted on cells in a petri dish and they were exposed to UV light for 20 minute intervals. In real life, gel manicures are not cured in 20 minute intervals so more data is needed from actual humans and with shorter exposure time to closer mimic gel manicure conditions. Nonetheless, this data provides evidence that the use of UV lamps for gel manicures can lead to increased risk of skin cancers. Besides increasing risk of skin cancers and precancerous spots, gel manicures use acrylates which a common cause of allergic contact dermatitis.
UV light is the main culprit for our wrinkles, lines, brown spots, and premature aging! To avoid having aged hands, next time you go to your nail salon consider getting a regular manicure instead. Regular manicures are much safer for your skin and nails than gel manicures. But if you do decide to get a gel manicure, ask for LED light as opposed to UV and be sure to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 or wear UV protective gloves that cover the your fingers and hands.