Why Dermatologists Say You Should Never Get A Gel Manicure

The UV light used to dry gel manicures has been linked to killing and mutating human DNA, which could potentially lead to cancer.

By Trista Sobeck | Published

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Self-care is the new priority these days Taking care of yourself to be the best person you can be is in. Whether it comes down to meditating or getting your nails done with a gel manicure, we say, “you be you, boo.” If you want to soak in a bath of tepid milk, journal until your heart is no longer heavy, or plump your skin, you just have to put yourself first. 

But, according to NBC, you should be warned if you visit the nail salon for that coveted gel manicure. Although it is a solid go-to for looking buttoned up and put together, that UV light that’s used to dry the polish may be harming and mutating your DNA.

A UV dryer is pretty much the same thing as a tanning bed. And that practice has become a no-no within the last two decades or so. We know concentrated UV light causes cancer. And even if it’s being used to dry your gel manicure, it can do the same. According to a new study, UV light causes DNA mutations which is an inevitable step toward skin cancer. 

If you’re against animal testing, you’re going to want to ignore this part. A recent study showed that when mice were exposed to a UV dryer light (just like you use after a gel manicure) after 20 minutes, 20% to 30% of their cells died. After three 20-minute sessions, back to back, 65% to 70% of cells had died. Now, you are not a mouse, and you’re not going to spend one hour under a UV dryer light, but better safe than sorry. 

However, in an earlier analysis, two women had developed melanomas on the backs of their hands. After further studies, although the women had gotten a number of gel manicure treatments with a UV light over the years, it was determined the cancer was more than likely not caused by the light. Researchers warn to just be aware that a UV light can alter the DNA of your cells which does lead to cancer. Will it? No one knows. Scientists still need to study the UV lights on humans. The lights started being used about 20 years ago, so the usage is still relatively new. 

Dermatologists all agree that UV light is indeed damaging and harmful. But no one can definitely say that the UV dryers after a gel manicure cause cancer. It may be wise to skip the UV drier or the expensive manicure altogether and just use a simple kit to make you feel good about yourself. However, we do understand that nothing beats the look of an expensive day at the salon. 

So, practice self care, use quality soap, and be gentle with yourself. UV lights, you don’t need them. A gel manicure, nah? You be your natural self and your glow will shine through. But, if it makes you feel good, just be wary. Painting nails has always been a fun activity. But, just remember, when you feel good, you look good. No matter what.