Love a good manicure? Read this
Gel manicures have become increasingly popular because of their long-lasting nature. However, there is controversy as to whether or not this beauty routine is actually safe for your skin and nails.
Here are some of the most common questions about gel manicures answered.
What are the main risks involved?
With gel manicures, a UV lamp is used to dry the polish and keep it from chipping for weeks at a time. But beware – Dr. Sarah Kasprowicz, a dermatologist affiliated with Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, says this light is similar to those found in tanning beds.
“Although the exposure is limited to typically around five minutes, this is enough UV to put folks at high risk for skin cancer and aging skin,” she says.
Is the removal process harmful?
“The gel is applied with a bonder that adheres to the very top layer of the nail,” says Dr. Kasprowicz. “These manicures should be removed by a professional who will file the top of layer of the polish and then use a chemical solution to break up the polish. If you peel this off yourself, you risk removing the top layer of the nail, which is not only damaging, but painful.”
Are there any other dangers involved?
“Like anything, you must be cautious about where and how it is done,” she says. “In addition to the chemical and UV exposures specific to the gel process, you have the infection risk and risk of damage to the nail that is associated with regular manicures and pedicures.”
What additional precautions should one take?
It’s important to know your salon. Understand what type of light they use (LED vs. UV) and their removal process. Get the manicure done in a professional setting.
“Ideally, one would wear a physical sunblock or UV protective gloves during this process,” says Dr. Kasprowicz.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.