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Gel Manicures Linked to Skin Cancer

Update Date: Mar 05, 2013 03:30 PM EST

Despite the quality of gel manicures, which have been advertised to be chip free and longer lasting than the regular manicures, the glossy end look might not be worth it. According to a new report, gel manicures may not be safe for nails and may even lead to skin cancer. Gel manicures must use three coats of polish and each coat has to be set with UV light.  The amounts of UV light gel manicures expose the skin is about triple that of a regular manicure. People who get gel manicures frequently do not realize the underlying dangers of this beauty treatment.

According to Dr. Chris Adigun from the NYU School of Medicine in Manhattan, the UV lamps used to dry nail polish may have similar damaging effects as tanning beds. Dr. Adigun, who published an article regarding gel manicures in the American Academy of Dermatology, recommends women to put on sunscreen on their hands before getting manicures as a precautionary measure. However, he would prefer that women stop getting gel manicures in general since the UV exposure is significantly higher for this specific nail treatment. Dr. Adigun also notes that the UV lamps used in nail salons are often unmonitored, meaning the exact exposure that customers get from them is not measured, and thus, the severity of the dangers is still unclear. The dangers can definitely be more than expected.

These fears of nail salon UV lamps did not just originate out of the blue. Based on a study done in 2009, two women were diagnosed with tumors on their hands after being exposed to UV lamps. The middle-aged women were not considered to be high risk for skin cancer since they did not have a genetic history or constant exposure to sunlight, which led researchers to place the blame on UV nail lights. This study was published in JAMA Dermatology.

Anther effect of UV light exposure is skin aging. Constant exposure to UV nail lights can lead to wrinkly hands. Furthermore, nails can become extremely brittle and thin, leading to nail-breakage, which can be extremely painful. Although the causes of brittleness can be attributed to either the polish or the acetone to remove the polish, manicures in general can be very dangerous and thus, people should reconsider the frequency of their manicures.  

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