Are Gel Manicures Dangerous?

Without a doubt, the introduction of gel manicures was a game changer. Two or three weeks of flawless, chip-free lacquer, nails that could withstand damage and grow long and strong. Simply put: ordinary polish could never

But a few weeks ago, a research undertaken by the University of California San Diego rained—hard—on the gel manicure parade, raising worries about its long-term safety

 Researchers examined the impact of lamps used to cure the gel on in vitro skin cells (both human and murine—i.e. mouse—origin) and discovered that exposure could damage DNA and cause cell mutations.

"I've always been concerned about the frequent use of UVA lamps in polish dryers," says Toronto dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll.

"We've known about the effects of UVA on skin leading to sun damage, aging and skin cancer, but this study goes further showing that these specific lamps lead to DNA damage, which can cause skin aging, sun damage and potentially skin cancer." 

To say the least, this is frightening. Does this mean that no one should ever have a gel manicure again? The expert explains all you need to know.

What are the long-term hazards of regular gel manicures? "The gel manicure itself is not dangerous," explains Carroll; it is simply the usage of UVA lamps.

They can cause increased pigmentation (i.e. dark spots), a breakdown of collagen, leading to hands that look crepe-y or wrinkly, and most importantly, they can increase your risk of skin cancer.

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