Could Your Manicure Cause Cancer?

If you’ve ever gotten a manicure just to chip your polish a few minutes later, you know how frustrating the short-lifespan of manicures can be. Most women can relate, which is why the new gel manicures are all the rage right now. Gel manicures claim that polish will last for two weeks.

The drawback to these long-lasting manicures is that they require you to put your hands under a UV light to cure the nail polish.

Paul Martinelli, M.D., dermatologist on the Baylor Plano medical staff, says that these types of lights primarily emit UVA radiation. “The ultraviolet A-range is the same light source that’s predominantly used in tanning beds, and it’s known to be carcinogenic, and, over time, can cause an increased risk of skin cancers, including melanoma,” says Dr. Martinelli.

So, before you book your next gel manicure appointment, Dr. Martinelli encourages you to take the following steps to protect your skin:

Make the frequency of visits for the service as infrequent as possible and the length of exposure to the UV lamps as brief as possible. Cumulative exposure to UVA is cancer-causing and can lead to premature aging of the skin.

Apply a broad-spectrum (coverage for UVA and UVB), water-resistant sun screen with a minimum SPF of 30 to the exposed surfaces of the hands and feet about 20 minutes before the treatment.

If you notice any changes in the affected skin areas, including new lesions or non-healing sores, be sure to seek evaluation by a dermatologist.

Learn more from Dr. Martinelli in this video discussing the safety of gel manicures.

This blog post was contributed by Dr. Paul Martinelli, dermatologist, on the staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano.

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Could Your Manicure Cause Cancer?