You know the risks of going to a tanning salon. You protect yourself with the appropriate SPF when you know you’ll be out in the sun. You even bring a hat along for those long days out in the sun. You’re doing all you can to protect yourself from skin cancer. Or are you?
Did you know your gel manicure could also be putting you at risk?
New Dangers at the Salon
Gel nail polish has become increasingly popular—it’s fast drying, long lasting, and offers a beautiful, chip-free finish to any good manicure. Unfortunately, it requires exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light in order to set, so while a gel manicure may require less maintenance, all that time under the light box might still leave its mark.
And at least one person claims to have developed melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, as a result.
It doesn’t matter the source—be it the sun, a tanning bed, or a tiny gel-curing light box—unnecessary exposure to UV radiation can lead to the development of skin cancer. While many agree the risks associated with gel manicures remain small compared to sunbathing and other forms of exposure, the potential danger is still very real, especially if you get a lot of manicures and are genetically predisposed to melanoma.
Dermatologists aren’t recommending you forego your gel manicures just yet. You can reduce your cancer risk by applying sunscreen prior to exposure. You can also wear photoprotective gloves, which allow only your fingertips exposure to the UV radiation. Doctors warn salon workers are at even greater risk, since they are potentially exposed throughout their entire work day. They advise people not only to protect their skin, but also their eyes, as UV exposure can also contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration, both of which can eventually lead to blindness.
Also, make sure to check nailbeds regularly for any changes or discoloration. Consult a dermatologist if you notice separating of fingernail from the nail bed, any changes in color, or signs of inflammation. Let your nails breathe every few months, inspecting them when they are polish-free, and pay special attention to any changes that could have been overlooked because they’ve been covered over by polish or acrylic tips.