They are the latest fashion fad, come in various colors and last for two weeks without peeling or chipping. Talking about gel manicures. We lead busy lives and want our nails to look great every day and extend the time between visits to the nail salon for mani/pedis, that’s why we love long-lasting gel manicures. DIY home gel manicure kits are also a hot ticket item on retailers shelves thus lowering the expense and time spent at the nail salon. But everything has a cost, even lovely chip-free nails. Count the cost by knowing the 5 health risks of gel manicures.
Skin Irritating Ingredients
Getting a manicure or pedicure without getting a little of the nail products on the skin is impossible. Certain ingredients in the gel manicure products, like methacrylates, can cause skin to redden, itch and swell when they come into contact with each other.
Some gel manicure products contain toxic chemicals and state so clearly on their packaging – BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) is considered a carcinogen and Shellac contains methyl pyrrolidone which potentially can cause harm to the reproductive system. Both of these gel manicure ingredients are on California’s Proposition 65 list of toxic chemicals.
Gel manicures requires nails to placed under a small UV light to ‘set’ the gel. The amount of UV ray exposure is minimal, but the cumulative effect of nails, fingers and hands being exposed to the UV light increase the health risk of skin cancer, especially nail bed melanoma, a particularly difficult type of skin cancer to treat.
Removing the gel usually requires the nails be soaked or wrapped in an acetone solution for several minutes. Acetone dries nails and can cause nails to become brittle and chap skin around nails.
Having the gel sealant on the nails for up to 2 weeks at a time prohibits the nails from getting moisture and air, leaving nails weak and prone to being invading with a nail fungus or bacteria.
If You Must…
There are times when we want our nails to look perfect for that special occasion, and a gel manicure does not pose much of a threat when indulged in on rare occasion. On those occasion when you must get a gel manicure, apply sunscreen to backs of hand or don a pair of sun-protective gloves with the fingertips cut out to protect against the health risk of UV ray exposure. And while the gel manicure is intact, apply a thick hand cream or petroleum jelly to the nails and surrounding skin several times a day to help prevent drying nails damage.