Gel manicure addicts have been warned that they’re are a higher risk of skin cancer, not to mention ruining their nails – should we give up our long-lasting manicure addiction?
Gel manicures have been slapped with new warnings that they could up your risk of skin cancer.
A New York dermatologist has voiced serious concerns that women’s addiction to the long-lasting, UV-dried manicure system could be threatening their health, not to mention their nails.
In a piece for the American Academy of Dermatology Dr Chris Adigun has suggested that women should be more aware of the skin cancer risk and advises them to cover their hands in suncream before heading to the beauty salon.
Should we be worried?
Possibly. Unregulated salons and machinery mean that you could be exposed to high levels of UV light.
Though experts from the big gel manicure brands insist that their products contains no more UV than you would experience from standard strip lighting, it’s hard to check your salon’s equipment as there are currently no regulations they must follow.
In which case it may be worth curbing your gel nails addiction and opting for the polish only for special occasions.
And it’s not just because of the skin cancer risk.Dr Dana Stern, a NYC-based dermatologist specialising in nail disorders told our sister site, Yahoo Shine, that: “The threat of dark sunspots on your hands is off-putting enough-but the most immediate damage comes from the way gel polish is removed.”
The stronger polish used needs to be soaked off with acetone for around 10 minutes, which is far longer than you’d usually need to remove nail varnish.
“This can cause massive damage to the nail and cuticle,” Dr Stern explains. “Beyond causing nails to weaken, split and sometimes lift, it can cause an eczema-like rash.”
There’s also the threat of premature aging of the skin on your fingers, and we all know that your hands are always an age giveaway.
Hiding your nails away under bright polish can also contribute to the vicious cycle. Regularly having gel manicures can weaken and split nails, which in turn makes us want to have them done again.
But this hides problems and may even stop you realising if there is an infection or more serious reaction to the chemicals. Picking old nail polish off is also bad for you as scraping at the nails can cause more damage.
What can you do?
Dr Stern recommends asking your nail technician to wrap your nails in acetone-soaked cotton rather than soaking them entirely when removing old manicure polish. Then cover with foil to require less soaking time in the harsh chemicals.
She also suggests giving your nails and cuticles extra care between manicures. Use cuticle oils or hydrators and try wearing a basecoat with nourishing vitamin E, which will help prevent breakages.
If you do have a basic manicure or paint your nails at home, go for products that don’t use acetone for removal.
If you feel ‘trapped’ in your manicures, break the cycle with a conditioning hand treatment and stick to nourishing and conditioning products while your nails grow out the damage.