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Gel manicures use high levels of UV radiation to set a special, light-sensitive gel into the nails. There is little evidence that this can cause cancer, but pain and nail damage are common side effects.
Manicures are cosmetic procedures to alter the appearance of a person’s nails.
This article examines what gel manicures are and discusses health and safety considerations. It also summarizes existing research comparing gel manicures and traditional acrylic nails.
In particular, the gel will only properly set upon exposure to certain light sources. For this reason, individuals who want a gel manicure must ask nail technicians to use a special light or use this light themselves. These lights usually use high intensity UV radiation.
People can purchase at-home gel manicure kits, including several gels and a special lamp source. The specific details of this procedure, such as the number of sessions needed per month and the time each session takes, vary from product to product.
There is no scientific data about the details of at-home gel manicures. However, evidence from
The majority of gel manicure light units emit high intensity UVA radiation, and there is some concern about whether these might pose a skin cancer risk. Due to UV radiation, artificial tanning in salons poses a significant
However, the same
A 2020 study recorded the experiences of 2,118 women who have used gel manicures. The study authors reported the following major results:
- Applying the manicure: Around 8.3% of the study group reported side effects while applying the polish. Among those individuals, around 50.4% reported either pain or burning sensations.
- Wearing the manicure: Around 20% of the study group reported side effects while wearing the polish. Out of those, 9.6% reported an itch, and 9.6% reported pain or burning sensations.
- Post manicure: Around 75% of the study group reported side effects after removing the polish. Among those individuals, 30.3% reported decreased nail toughness, and 24.7% reported splitting nails.
Although these findings may be unreliable due to the self-reporting methodology, they suggest some possible concerns with gel manicures.
However, due to the study’s small sample size, more research is needed on the connection between different manicures and hygiene.
At-home gel manicure
There is currently no scientific evidence to distinguish the health effects of at-home gel manicures from salon gel manicures. While salon gel manicure providers may operate with stricter health standards than people who apply gel manicures at home, the research has yet to determine whether this is the case.
Gel manicures are a popular form of cosmetic nail treatment. They use a special light-sensitive gel to achieve their effects. Although the process does expose people to some UV radiation, there is no evidence that this increases the risk of skin cancer.
However, gel manicures may have other side effects, such as pain or a burning sensation during the application. The removal process may also result in people having damaged nails.