Dangerous Nail Fad- Gel Manicure

Why do people get manicures? First, changing your nails can ultimately change how you feel about yourself. By selecting your color or the shape of your nail, treating yourself to a manicure can be uplifting. Second, the process is undeniably relaxing, from the hand massage, to the careful attention put to each finger. Regardless of the reason for the beauty treatment, a manicure forces you to set aside time for yourself. The yearning for beautiful nails has powered an entire industry of nail salons and has been the inspiration for new trends in nail care.

Beautiful french manicure and rose petals

Gel polish is the current frenzy. It offers the long lasting wear of acrylic nails minus the accompanying nail damage. These new gel manicures are becoming more and more popular because the coating of the polish is thinner and therefore looks more natural. Another plus is that there requires no dry-time or smudging. Right after the manicure is finished, the nails should stay shiny and chip-resistant for weeks. Should great doesn’t it?

Truth: This latest beauty treatment, gel manicures, carries with it a number of potential health risks.

These health risks may include:

#1-These “no-chip” nails are, in reality, a form of artificial nails. This means the same chemicals used in acrylic nails are also used in gel polishes.

Why should we be concerned? Acrylates can cause allergic and irritant reactions. Contact dermatitis, which is known to cause skin itching, burning, scaling, hives, blistering, and even eczema, has been shown to be associated with these compounds salon workers use as well as salon customers. Therefore, if customers and salon workers have had problems with acrylic nails, they too will have problems with gel polishes.

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#2- The gel process involves applying pre-mixed gel acrylic to the natural nails, followed by curing the nails under UV light after each coat is applied. The acrylic polymer is linked by the action of the UV light which dries it. There are about three separate coats of gel, followed by 2-3 minutes of curing under the UV light after each coat.

Gel manicure UV lamp istock

Why should we be concerned? UV light is a known human hazard which can cause skin cancer. A cancer known as nail bed melanoma, is a particularly difficult type of skin cancer to treat. Dermatologists have even warned against the regular use of gel polishes due to this constant UV light exposure.

Several sites explained that the “drying” or setting process for gel manicures is done by cancer causing ultraviolet rays.

What else aren’t they telling us about these “perfectly safe” gel manicures?

  • Gel nails leaves nails thinner, causing brittleness, peeling, and cracking.
  • In order to remove the ultra-resistant gel manicure, one must have the polish soaked in acetone for anywhere from 5-15 minutes to be able to scratch it off easily.
  • When removing the polish, sometimes it is hard to scratch the gel polishes off the natural nail, so there may also be filing down with an electric file to get the gel polishes off which is very damaging to the nail.

“There have been some reported cases of nerve damage related to the chemicals and vibrations of the electric file.”

What should we do then if we desire having a gel manicure? Take a few simple, safety precautions before getting a gel manicure. In this way, we can lessen the harm and dangers of the ultraviolet rays on both our nails and skin.

Apply Sunscreen

Before you leave the house and head towards the salon, apply a generous amount of sunscreen on your hands and rub the lotion onto your skin. Dousing the skin with sunscreen before getting your nails done with gel polish can protect the delicate skin from the cancerous assets of ultraviolet rays bulging from the lamp.

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Bring Fingerless Gloves

Another way to protect your skin from this harmful UV light is to put on a pair of ultraviolet resistant fingerless gloves found at any beauty shop. These gloves will act as a protective agent to your delicate skin. Wearing these gloves and applying sunscreen onto your skin will allow you to enjoy your manicure free of unnecessary worry.

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