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Could Your Gel Manicure Give You Skin Cancer?


Gel manicures, like CND’s shellac, have been growing in popularity as a long-lasting, durable nail option since the mani lasts for up to two weeks chip-free and is dry the minute you walk out of the salon. (Many a doorknob and purse zipper has been cursed when I’ve smushed my newly-painted non-gel nails.) But recent research has shown that the UV lamps used to set gel lacquers on fingertips may be a cause for serious concern.

In 2009, a study was conducted on two women (granted, small sample size) who had no prior skin cancer history in their families, and found that they had developed nonmelanoma skin cancer on their hands after exposure to UV lamps used with the manicures. And, even further, the study stated that if you compare the small amount of body surface the light is directed at and the amount of UV radiation being emitted, the overall exposure is “approximately comparable” to tanning beds. Yikes! (For more on tanning beds, click here.)

To be fair, this study is small, and overall the results only found that UV lamps are an extra risk factor that could contribute to skin cancer. While more research needs to be done before being sure, it’s definitely making me reconsider those extra-fast UV lamp options the next time I visit the nail salon.

Are you a gel manicure fan? Does using UV lamps ever worry you?


Still want great nails but wary of hitting up the salons? Try this stick-on nail polish instead!

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