It's said that beauty is only skin deep, and when it comes to gel manicures, that's especially true.
Experts say the ultraviolet (UV)-emitting lamps that set the "gel" or nail polish may cause skin cancer. Consider them something like tanning beds for your fingers.
According to Elizabeth Hale, M.D., vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation, research has shown that UV radiation-emitting devices are carcinogenic to humans. Based on individual reports (and not on clinical trials), the risk is apparently greatest for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common skin cancer in the U.S. Squamous cell carcinomaa is typically caused by UV exposure and is common on the hands and around the fingernails.
Women like gel manicures because they look great and last, requiring few touch-ups and less-frequent trips to the manicurist.
While the risks may be small and are still to be fully understood, it seems like a potential problem that can be easily avoided, especially if you've already had a good share of sun exposure on your hands throughout your life. But if you're someone who still wants gel manicures, Dr. Hale recommends that you :
- Apply sunscreen to your hands before getting a gel manicure.
- Help prevent skin cancer, wrinkles, brown spots and other signs of again by using a moisturizing sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to your hands at least every two hours throughout the day (at least when you're outside).
To learn more, visit the Skin Cancer Foundation's website.
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