New Health Concerns Over Gel Manicures

Gel manicures can lead to skin cancer in the nail bed and underneath the nails

It is a popular trend despite the known risks and now there’s another warning about how gel manicures can be potentially dangerous to your health.

Those who pamper themselves with gel manicures have to place their hands under nail lamps, exposing their skin to ultraviolet light, raising concerns about skin cancer on their hands. Now the risk can come in a hidden area under their nails.

Gel manicures typically last about two weeks, while regular manicures only last less than a week. The convenience can come with a price, said Dr. Mathew Avram, with Mass General Hospital.

“The nail bed underneath can absolutely be an area where you can develop skin cancers,” Avram said.

Avram says women do not have to stop getting gel manicures, but moderation is key.

“I do think generally speaking you want to cover your fingers as much as possible, limit the number of treatments you get as far as possible, and be aware of the fact that we don’t know exactly what the true incidence of skin cancer are with these treatments,” Avram said.

There are steps some salons are taking to protect customers.

Boston’s Nails and Spa offers fingerless gloves to reduce exposure to the lamp and they are providing alternatives to achieve the gel look with the UV exposure.

There is a “dazzle dry polish” that can last over seven days and it dries fast.

Powder gel is another UV free option. Nails are brushed with an adhesive before being dipped in the powder. Nails are then buffed and a top coat is applied. The powder gel can last two to three weeks.

The powder manicure does cost about 20 dollars more than the gel. If you want to stick with the gel manicures, Dr. Avram recommends wearing the fingerless gloves and using sunscreen all over your hands.

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