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With Instagram perfect nails becoming a trend these days, the thought of going to the salon for that perfect gel manicure has occurred in almost every girls mind. But did you know this raging trend could put you at a risk of getting skin cancer?
What are Gel manicures?
The gel manicures have become the next big thing in the beauty business. The number is relatively higher in teen age girls. No surprises there! This indestructible manicure is achieved by putting a base coat layer which primes up the nails for gel application.
The gel used on the nails is a special type of polish that gets firmed on the nail with the help of UV light instead of the regular air drying. Once the coating is done the hand is placed under the Ultra Violet light for about 30 seconds. The last steps include the top coat application and exposure under the light and your manicure is complete. These manicures are stronger than the traditional ones and can last longer.
A gel manicure will last for about 2 to 3 weeks. Better care of nails will ensure a longer lasting manicure.
The UV Ray exposure
The gel application varies from the traditional nail polish in the way the base layers are firmed up. The curing process includes placing the hand under the UV light for a few seconds, so the gel can be firmed up. That’s what causes the problem! You may be thinking that such a minimum exposure is harmless. Some dermatologists think otherwise!
The lamps should not be underestimated. The UV rays emitted by the lamps in nail salons could be more powerful and dangerous than the ones emitting from the sun. Same is true for the LED lights. These lights have a very short curing time due to the strong UVA rays. Powerful UVA rays mean a shorter curing time. Exposure to these UV rays can cause skin cancer.
Other risks of a Gel manicure
While Gel manicures are linked to skin aging and cancer. There are other risks of getting a gel manicure.
Manicures of any sort not just the gel ones can cause you dehydration in the nails along with nail plate thinning. The dehydration causes the nail to appear unsightly and may even trigger another visit to the nail salon, aggravating the damage.
When you expose your hands to those harsh UV rays, no matter how short the time, know that you are subjecting the skin around the nails and the hands to premature aging. If you do opt a gel manicure, remember to wear a sunscreen to minimize the damage.
Scrapping Off the gel can cause more damage!
Removing the gel from the nails can cause even more damage to your nails. Nails salon have different ways of how they would remove the gel to prepare your nails for the next manicure. There are certain steps that need to be followed and any alteration in the step can wreak havoc on the nails.
Ideally a gel that has been applied properly should come off easily with an acetone soak. In case the gel has not been properly cured, it will adhere to the nail and require manual chipping. This can be quite painful and may compromise the nail surface. Gel removal is not always nail destruction but in case of improper gel curing, the removal of gel can seriously impact the nail health.
How to minimize damage
If you are an ardent gel manicure lover, it would be difficult for you to quit cold turkey! But what you can do is follow a few steps to minimize the damage to your nails and your health.
- Trade cheaper service for high quality safe manicures.
- Ask your manicurist for the formula and read the information. Choose the gel formulas that do not contain too many toxic chemicals.
- Do not compromise on gel removal. Ask your manicurist to use the gentlest way possible.
- Moisturize your nails with balms and oils to strengthen and repair the damage.
- Use a sun screen when exposing your hands to the UV lamps in the nail salon.
- Try to limit your visits to the nail salon by taking care of your nails at home.