Oh, Gel Naw! The Truth About Your Gel Manicure

Gel polish is undoubtedly one of the greatest nail fads to hit the modern market. It can last for weeks without chipping, and the shine will stay as bright as the day you got them done. I have it on as I type this now! But, there are a few things you might want to know before you drop some major moola on fancy phalanges. 

First of all, gel manicures require exposure to UV lamps for up to 10 minutes at a time. You already know the dangers of tanning beds! Some sources say that extended UV exposure time can cause skin cancer in the hands. However, Cosmopolitan points out that you would actually need to get a weekly manicure for 250 years before you would increase your risk of developing melanoma. If you're still concerned, apply a little sunscreen before your trip to the nail salon. You can also opt for going to salons that use LED lights, as you won't be directly exposed to so many rays. 

Another danger lies in the polish itself. Some gel polish brands use an ingredient called butylated hydroxyanisol, or BHA. The National Toxicology Program states that BHA is "resonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen." Uh oh! Avoid this cancer-causing chemical by being sure to check the bottle's label. If you see BHA on there, proceed to the next polish. 

Make sure you go to a trusted, reputable place to get your nails done. As a paying customer, it's not unreasonable to expect that you are getting taken care of by a trained professional, and that the salon is kept to high sanitary standards. ABC News recently reported that one woman suffered nerve damage in her hands from malpractice with unclean tools. This could only get worse when your hands are later exposed to the UV lamp! So definitely make sure to keep an eye on your hands during filing, cutting, and buffing.

Lastly, nothing lasts forever, and it is so easy and weirdly satisfying to peel off your gel when it starts to chip. JUST. DON'T. DO. IT. Not only does this shred away the enamel of your nail plate, but it causes permanent damage that will not go away until your whole nail has grown out. Most salons will remove your gel for free or a small fee, but this doesn't exactly mean it's any safer. Acetone is most often used in the removal process, which is a very harsh chemical. If you opt for this option, make sure you wash your hands after handling Acetone and be sure to moisturize your hands and nails.

So, whether getting a gel manicure is a weekly thing, or you rarely step into a nail salon, at least now you know the truth about the so-called "miracle mani"! Nail it wisely ;)

Xo, C