As you may have gleaned from my SSR Instagram (image above) or SSR Facebook or SSR Twitter, I have been going to get my nails done professionally lately. I have been getting acrylic false nails with gel nail polish on top. I love gel because it lasts so much longer and is very durable on my nails. They really look perfect up until the 2 week mark when I get them redone. I'm loving my fancy nails right now for sure! However, I have been doing some research and have learned that there is some health reasons to take precautions when getting gel nail polish done frequently. I wanted to share what I have learned with you and tell you how you can stay safe and healthy while still getting fun gel manicures!
"The downside with gel manicures stems from the crucial UV-curing step. A recent study found that the cumulative damage from the light frequencies the nail lamps emit can cause DNA damage to the skin that can result in premature aging and possibly cancer" (according to WebMD).
If you think about it, you are putting your hands in essentially a UV tanning bed for a few minutes every 2 weeks. Most people know by now that tanning in general greatly increases your risk of skin cancer. This is just another way that you can be exposed to dangerous UV waves. If you want more information on the risks of tanning in general, here is the link to the FDA "Risks of Tanning" page. Even if you do not care about your health, exposure to UV rays leads to premature aging and winkles, and who wants their hands to look old faster than they need to?
So, we love our gel manicures and don't want to give them up. So what can you do to minimize the risks associated with those UV curing lights?
HOW TO REDUCE THE DANGER:
1. Apply Sunscreen.
Apply sunscreen to your hands before they go under the light! I recommend the highest SPF sunscreen you can find. If you are getting a full manicure, let your manicurist know you want to put on sunscreen before the nails go under the light, and they can let you know the best time to apply it without ruining your manicure. If you are just getting an acrylic fill, you should be able to apply the sunscreen before you get to the salon as long as you are not washing your hands before they go under the UV light.
2. Buy Gloves.
People a becoming more and more aware of the UV risks associated with gel manicures and there are gloves available on the market that cover almost your whole hand except your nail. These gloves are inexpensive and are probably worth it if you are considering getting gel manicures often. I would still use sunscreen on your whole hands just for added protection and to protect your finger tips that stick out of the gloves. Also, the gloves only protect from 98% of UV rays, I feel like maybe the sunscreen will help with the last 2%. The gloves I bought are on Amazon are called "USpicy® Highly UV Protective Gloves"* and only cost $6.99. I like these because the fabric on the fingers reaches all the way up your finger to the nail and leaves as little exposed as possible. If the fingers are too long, you can fold or bunch up the fabric to make them the perfect length. These also extend up your arm just in case some light reaches your arm/wrist. I think they are well worth the money.
3. Minimize Exposure.
What do I mean by this? Simply, only your nail needs to be exposed to the light, so there is no need to jam your whole hand under the light. This is just adds to the exposure with no actual benefit.
I hope this post was helpful and made you aware of potential dangers of the curing lights used for gel manicures. Stay safe and as always,
Shine & Sparkle!
*I am not paid or contacted by any of the companies mentioned in this post. These are my honest feelings and opinions. Also, the image of USpicy® Gloves is owned by them I assume. I'll gladly take it down if someone contacts me about it.