Are Gel Manicures Safe? What to know about UV light and cancer risk

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Still, “there is growing data that the UV radiation emitted by nail lamps may be potentially dangerous,” Dr. Edigun said.

An alternative is the dip powder manicure, which is also longer lasting and involves dipping the nails into acrylic powder after applying an adhesive. A dip manicure usually doesn’t require a UV lamp, but some stylists may add an additional gel coating at the end to make the manicure last longer – in which case a UV lamp would be used, Dr. Lindsey Shipp said, Said a dermatologist in Oxford, Miss.

There is one concern with dip manicures, though: Stylists often use the same jar of acrylic powder for multiple clients, which increases the chance that the powder can harbor germs that lead to nail infections, Dr. Edigun said.

But Dr. Edigun, who has specialized in nail disorders for more than 16 years, said she had never heard of anyone getting a nail infection from a dip manicure. And the acetone that stylists often use to remove nail polish at the beginning of a manicure acts as a disinfectant, Dr. The cleanliness of the nail and the potential for contamination are reduced, Ship said.

Doctor. Shipp said the risk of getting an infection from a dip manicure is “incredibly rare.”

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce the health risks the next time you visit the salon.

If you’re getting a gel manicure, consider wearing fingerless UV protective gloves, Dr. Adigun said. (She didn’t recommend using sunscreen, because sunscreen has been shown to protect against UV exposure only from the sun, not UV lamps, she said.)

To reduce your risk of infection, Dr. Edigun suggests asking your stylist not to push back or remove your cuticles, which provide an important barrier against germs. That said, many people blame post-salon infections on contaminated tools, when it’s more likely that their own germs infected nails after they removed their cuticles.

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