Gel manicures: Are they safe?

By: Health Local Staff Sep 09, 2013
  Article
Are gel manicures safe

According to new research, the price for beauty may come at a hefty price tag.

One of the most popular trends in nail salons across the country is the promise of chip-free long-lasting nails. But, does the perfect manicure come at a high cost? More specifically, could your health be compromised all in the name of beautifully coloured nails?

Women love it when their hands and feet look great. However, it takes time to tend to well-groomed fingers and toes. Those nail appointments are costly, frequent and take time. From busy moms to corporate professionals, gel manicures are becoming a hot ticket item because they provide long-lasting nails that are chip free for lengthy periods of time.

The perfect nail may come at a high health risk, according to research. Women are popping up across the country with problematic conditions caused from gel manicures. What kind of health risks do they pose?

1. Promotion of nail fungus

Gel manicures require a gel sealant to be applied to the nail. For up to a couple of weeks the sealant prohibits the nails from getting moist or getting air. The actual nail is left weak and more prone infection from bacteria and fungus.

2. Brittle nails and damaged cuticles

Because of the kinds of toxic chemicals used and the requirement that the nails be soaked in acetone for a duration of time, the nails tend to become damaged and brittle. Acetone is a drying agent that causes the nail to become excessively brittle. It also chaps the skin around the nails, which may lead to other problems.

3. Skin irritation and inflammation

Gel manicures contain ingredients and products such as methacrylates, which irritate, redden and damage the skin. If the agents are not kept wiped off the cuticles, irritation can ensue. Many women experience swelling, itchiness and inflammation when they receive a gel manicure.

4. Nail bed melanoma

The risk of developing skin cancer in the nail bed is high because of the UV light used to set the gel. While many argue that the amount of UV rays is minimal, because the nail bed is a concentrated area and small space, even minimal exposure causes damage and makes the area more susceptible to melanoma. The UV light exposure affects the nail bed, fingers and hands. In fact, some women have reported the development of skin cancer on the back of their hand and as far up as the wrist area due to excessive exposure.

5. Reproductive system harm

It is the toxic chemicals used in gel manicures that are carcinogenic and potentially harmful to the reproductive system. Shellac is a popular product used with gel manicures and contains a harmful ingredient known as methyl pyrrolidone. It is this agent that has been known to cause harm to the reproductive system. Pregnant women or those who are planning to conceive should avoid gel manicures at all costs. The price for beauty may come at a hefty price tag.

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.