Gel Manicures: What You Need to Know
Gel manicures are all the rage, comprising close to 65% of most nail salon business. Also known as the “14-day manicure,” gel nails truly live up to all the hype. For most customers, the polish remains beautiful and chip-free for two weeks.
I had my first gel manicure several months ago and was amazed. I left the salon with perfect nails, and they stayed that way for two weeks. This type of manicure is perfect before a vacation, wedding weekend, or other event. You can have gorgeous nails the whole time with no maintenance.
But despite the benefits of gel manicures, we now know there is some degree of risk involved. This risk comes from to the use of most lamps used to “cure” the gel polish. UV light is used to make gel polish harden and bond to the nail. After each application of gel polish, your hands go inside a small box that emits UV light. Essentially, the box is like a “miniature tanning bed. “Although there are some other lights that can be used for gel manicures, it seems that most salons use those that emit UVA.
In a nutshell, most gel manicures involve repeatedly exposing parts of your hands to UV light. This is no different than exposing any other part of your body to UV light in a tanning bed. It is not safe, and repeated exposure to such light, whether just on your hands or on your whole body, is not recommended. Too many studies have proven the harmful effects of UV radiation on the skin for this to be ignored. Also, since UV radiation is cumulative, every bit of exposure adds up over time.
If you do choose the benefits of gel manicures over the risk of skin cancer, there are gloves available online that offer a degree of sun protection. If I were going to get gel manicures on a regular basis, I would buy these gloves and cut the fingertips out. I would then use sunscreen on any exposed skin. The gloves, along with other sun protective clothing, can be purchased at Coolibar.Sun Protective Gloves