How Safe are Gel Manicures Really?

Image by Nuno Lopes from Pixabay

You might want to think twice about getting your nails done, according to a new study. 

Gel polish has become preferable over the years due to it being dry by the time you leave the salon and lasting for weeks without chipping. But applying gel requires the use of a UV light machine which scientists now say may be harmful. 

Based on the study published in Nature Communications, one 20-minute session of exposure to the UV dryers resulted in 20-30% cell death. Three consecutive 20-minute sessions of exposure resulted in 65-70% cell death. The cells which remained showed signs of mutation which can result in skin cancer.

“If you look at the way these [polish drying] devices are presented, they are marketed as safe, with nothing to be concerned about,” said Professor Ludmil Alexandrov from the University of California San Diego who authored the study. “But to the best of our knowledge, no one has actually studied these devices and how they affect human cells at the molecular and cellular levels until now.”

Although one’s hands are placed in the dryers for just a few seconds at a time, researchers noted that many cases of rare cancers developing in fingers belonged to people who get gel manicures very frequently.