Gel manicures are not as bad as people fear

Mar 31, 2015 at 1:33 p.m. ET
Image: Moustachegirl/istock/gettyimages

For those of us who love the gel manicure, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. For years, there have been whispers and rumors of danger thanks to the UV curing light used in gel manicures. Does it cause cancer? Destroy our nails? Now we know.

It has been implied and studied for years that the UV lamps used to dry gel manis also increase the risk of skin cancer and age our hands. And while there is some truth to the fears, it's not as bad as we all feared.

According to a study published recently in JAMA Dermatology: "UV nail polish drying lamps pose only a small risk to clients." As it turns out, the risk is really minimal. Yay!

Allure magazine points out:

The study looked at the use of only UV lights, which have become less common as some salons have switched to quicker, presumably less-risky LED lights.

So what does all this mean for the average user?

As someone who uses gel manicures on the regular (every two weeks) half the year and then gives my nails a little mid-year break, I am excited by the prospect of being able to keep my nails more glam year-round. But that doesn't mean there is no risk. It may be minimal, but it's not gone.

As with everything in beauty, it's best to know what you are getting into with each treatment. Know the ingredients of your nail polish. Know what a UV lamp does to your skin. Know what that facial mask is made of. Know the chemicals in your hair product. The more you know, the more you can make empowered choices.

As for me, I am going to keep on keeping on. I love gel manicures and this news only confirms that.

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