Are Gel Manicures Safe?

Gel manicures, or chip-free manicures, have become a sensation worldwide because of their long-lasting effectiveness. However, their safety has become a debatable topic worldwide. This NailArtMag article states some facts and information on the potential dangers of gel manicures.
NailArtMag Staff
The process of getting a gel manicure involves exposure to UV rays, acetone, and vigorous scrubbing. These can cause problems such as thinning of nails, infection, and even cancer.
The lines written above give you a clear answer. While many women across the globe have made it a lifetime routine to get their nails manicured frequently, some even changing the shades according to their attire, they have no clue of the severe health risks they are putting themselves through, which may also prove to be fatal in the long run.

The harmful effects of gel nails have been brought into the forefront through various medical experts. In fact, the subject got the maximum exposure when the dangers of the procedure were discussed in an episode of 'The Dr. Oz Show', aired on January 23, 2013. Various esteemed publishers and newspapers have written elaborate articles, stating facts that highlight how risky it is to make your nails look prim and proper via gel manicures. On the other hand, there are people who vouch for the safety of this procedure.
What Makes Gel Manicures Unsafe?
Dermatologist Dr. Anne Chapas was a part of the show along with Dr. Oz. She presented some disturbing facts about the damage done by gel manicures on the nails and the surrounding skin. The show highlighted three main steps in the process that are likely to cause severe harm. These are listed as under.
☞ Exposure to UV Rays
The Professional Beauty Association's Nail Manufacturers Council on Safety states that if UV lights are exposed to the nails and hands as per the guidelines issued, the amount of exposure is extremely minimal to cause any potential harm. As purple as it may feel while being pampered in a nail salon, by placing your hands in the UV lights, it is the most risky phase of the manicure. Entering your nails in a UV lamp to quicken up the nail-drying process may take a total duration of 8 to 10 minutes, which is considered to be extremely harmful by health experts. The Archives of Dermatology published a study in 2009, which stated that the exposure of UV lights to the nails and hand, for a duration of around 10 minutes, is likely to increase the risk of developing skin cancer.
☞ Application of Acetone
Although acetone may be efficient enough to remove nail polish, it is extremely unsafe for your nail bed. Removing a gel manicure requires the nails to be soaked in acetone for quite some time. Did you know that the chemical not only softens the polish, but also the nails? When the nails are in such a vulnerable state, the next step just acts as a final blow.
☞ Vigorous Scrubbing for Removal
The manicurist uses a metal tool to scrape off the softened nail polish, and we all would agree that the vigorous scrubbing also bruises the nail bed to a great extent, especially when the acetone has already softened it and made it more vulnerable than ever. Dr. Chapas stated in 'The Dr. Oz Show' that according to a study, a single gel manicure removal process thins the nail by almost 50 percent!
Also, the scrubbing and cleaning may cause bruises around the nail bed, putting one under the risk of infections, including the ones caused by the staphylococcus bacteria, which is commonly known as staph infection. Fungal infections may also occur as a result.
Safety Tips
After understanding the potential, perhaps fatal risks of going through the application or removal of gel nails, most of us would probably give up the thought of getting one done again. However, there are certain safety measures and precautions that may be taken in order to minimize the harm. These are:
Visit a nail salon that uses LED lights instead of UV lamps.
Apply sunscreen to the hands before beginning the procedure.
Use anti-UV light manicure gloves to protect the skin during exposure to the UV rays.
Use top coat of polish that does not contain chemicals such as toluene, formaldehyde, and DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate). Dr. Chapas recommends brands such as Zoya and LCN.
Is it worth getting a gel manicure when we know of the damage it may cause to our nails and skin, and the irreversible development of cancer? There are enough evidences against those who vouch for the safety of this procedure, to make it clear that gel manicures are not safe at all. For those of us who value health more than style, this nail beautification option is definitely not worth taking a risk.