Your Gel Manicure Is Cute, But It Might Be Giving You Cancer

Illustration for article titled Your Gel Manicure Is Cute, But It Might Be Giving You Cancer

Well, here's some sad news for gel manicure enthusiasts. While you might be drawn to the shine and resilience that your manicures give you, you should also know that all that time that you're keeping your hands directly under a UV light is not that good for your skin. Whaaaa? But also duhhhhh?


We've heard the warnings before, but Dr. Chris Adigun, an assistant professor of dermatology at the NYU Medical School, is the most recent M.D. to climb aboard the anti-gel manicure bandwagon (don't get mad, she's only trying to help). In the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, she writes:

Women who frequently get gel manicures should consider their skin cancer risk because the UV light needed to cure the gel manicure is a risk factor. As is the case with most things, moderation is the key when it comes to gel manicures. If you get them regularly, you need to be aware of the possible consequences. In general, any manicure left in place for an extended period of time is not a good idea because you are not seeing what is going on underneath the nail polish.

Dermatologists recommend that, if you continue to get gel manicures, you apply sunscreen ahead of time and some nail salons will actually offer you a lotion with an SPF themselves. The Professional Beauty Association, which regulates the vast majority of products used in salons, would argue, however, that the service is entirely unnecessary:

New independent study by leading researchers concludes that UV nail lamps do not play a substantial role in the risk of developing skin cancer. The researchers calculated it would take 250 years of weekly UV nail sessions to equal risk of exposure associated with one course of narrow band UVB treatments for certain kinds of skin conditions.

So maybe you don't need to wear sunscreen, buuuuut you should probably wear sunscreen. If you're not convinced, 2 women in 2009 reported finding tumors in their hands that doctors think were caused by exposure to gel manicure lamps.

Another doctor comes out against gel manicure safety [Examiner]
Image via Nuzza/Shutterstock.



Am I the only one who thinks painting fingernails is a huge waste of time, money, and frustration? If you use your hands for ANYTHING, the paint chips in one day...maybe this new gel crap is more resilient to everyday use of your hands, but still...they're friggen HANDS! Unless you're a dainty heiress who doesn't need to lift a finger, you need to use your hands to, I dunno, zip your fly, type, pick things up, lock your door, ride your bike...