What is a gel manicure? Can Gel Manicures Increase Your Risk of Skin Cancer?

Nail art is definitely having a moment in fashion right now. With the invention of gel manicures, sticker manicures and nail polish pens, beauty enthusiasts are expressing themselves even more freely through their nails. Fifth Avenue in New York is crowded with mini spas, advertising manicures for cheap. The boom in nail bars has been explained by the Daily Mail as being “…a cheap way of transforming a look without having to invest in a new outfit…they also proved popular because they are quick, allowing women to feel pampered in just 15 minutes”. During this time of economic instability, women have begun to go in droves to these nail bars because they are one of the few affordable luxuries left to fashionistas.

Keeping this in mind, it seems that there is one area in this booming nail industry that could put you at risk. Oncologists are now considering the harmful longtime effects of getting a gel manicure. What is a gel manicure? A gel manicure is a manicure that uses special formula that provides chip-free and glossy nails for weeks. This special nail polish, made by brands such as OPI and Shellac, is dried and set by a UV light after being painted on. The use of the UV light has many doctors concerned as any UV exposure runs the risk of damaging skin cells, which may turn into cancerous tumors. Dr. Adigun, from New York University School of Medicine, recommends that women interested in getting gel manicures should only get this spa service for special occasions to “…decrease the consequences of chemical trauma”.

Aside from UV Damage, gel manicures may also ruin your actual nails. The chemicals in gel nail polish thin nail plates after just one treatment, leading to brittle, unhealthy nails. It may take up to six weeks for your nails to recover from a gel manicure. So to further answer, “what are gel manicures?” I regret to say, it’s a risky beauty trends with a lot of questions.

Gel manicures are a new fashion trend and therefore, there is not enough established long-term research to completely nix it from your beauty routine yet. Perhaps, they will fall out of trends before too much damage has been inflicted on the hands of the fashion obsessed. For now, keep an eye out for more research and try to limit your gel manicures to a few times a year. There are so many great healthy alternatives now for those obsessed with nail art that consumers shouldn’t feel too tied to getting only gel manicures. The one beauty statement that will never go out of fashion is protecting yourself against cancer. Now that’s a good look.

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