Entries in Manicure (2)


10 Tips to Keep Your Gel Manicure Safe

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gel manicures are known for shining brighter and lasting longer than a regular manicure, lasting as long as two weeks without a crack.  But can the special process that gives your nails their patent leather gleam also be harmful to your health?

The gel manicure process requires four or five coats of polish, with each layer followed by a finish under a UV light -- a similar light to those used in tanning beds, only far weaker.

Some dermatologists warn the typical five- to 10-minute exposure to the light during a gel manicure could be harmful.  A 2009 article in the Archives of Dermatology concluded that “further investigation” was warranted to see if the UV nail lamps can cause cancer.

A nail-industry sponsored study conducted at the Lighting Sciences Inc., an independent lab in Scottsdale, Ariz., found that getting a gel manicure every two weeks is equivalent to spending an extra two minutes in the sun every day.

Just as dermatologists have long advocated wearing sunscreen on a daily basis, they now also recommend wearing sunscreen on your hands when you go for a gel manicure.

Nail drying lights emit UV-A rays and not all sunscreens protect against those.  That’s why dermatologists say you should be sure to apply a “broad spectrum” sunscreen that protects against both UV-A and UV-B rays before any manicure.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says sunscreens with the following ingredients provide broad spectrum protection: Avobenzone, cinoxate, ecamsule, menthyl anthranilate, octyl methoxycinnamate, octyl salicylate, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Here are 10 warning signs to look for when getting a gel manicure -- or any manicure -- according to the Professional Beauty Association:

1. Your salon uses bottles in unmarked containers.
2. The products smell unusually strong or have a strange odor.
3. Your skin is abraded or cut during the procedure.
4. The instruments used on you are not sterilized.
5. Your skin or nails hurt during or after the nail service.
6. The technician cannot tell you what is in the products.
7. The salon is not clean.
8. Licenses for the salon and individual operators are not visibly posted
9. You see swelling, redness or other signs of infection around your nails.
10. You are not asked to wash your hand and you do not see the nail technician wash his/her own hands before the nail service.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Do UV Nail Dryers Pose a Skin Cancer Risk?

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After getting a manicure at a nail salon, many people in a rush opt to use an ultraviolet nail dryer -- a shortcut that exposes hands to the same skin-damaging UV rays emitted by the sun and tanning beds.  Although the intensity is much less than that of a tanning bed, some experts say enough exposure over time could increase the risk of skin cancer.

"Ultraviolet exposure is cumulative," said Dr. Darrell Rigel, clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center.  "Like a meter in a taxicab, it only goes forward.  And the faster you go, the faster the meter goes."

Chronic, low-level UV exposure can cause basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma -- the most common forms of skin cancer often seen in people who spend a lot of time outside.  When spotted early, the cancers are easy to treat, unlike melanoma -- a rare skin cancer caused by acute high-level UV exposure, also known as sunburn.

"You could keep you hands in a UV nail dryer for an hour and not get a sunburn," said Rigel.  "But it's still UV exposure, and you want to minimize that as much as you can."

A 2009 report published in Archives of Dermatology detailed two cases of non-melanoma skin cancer on the hands of women who frequented the nail salon -- a 55-year-old with a 15-year history of twice-monthly appointments and a 48-year-old who went eight times in one year several years before her diagnosis.  Both women had cancer on the backs of their fingers, leading the report authors to suspect UV nail lamps as a possible trigger.

UV nail dryers are most often used to "cure" gel nails, but they're also used to harden some acrylic nails and traditional polishes.  A standard dryer has four nine-watt bulbs emitting a small fraction of the skin damaging UV rays of a 60 200-watt bulb tanning bed.  But for nail salon regulars or people who have UV dryers at home, the exposure can add up.

"…We know that UV light increases your risk of cancer (and wrinkles), and if you're going to the nail salon every two weeks (or weekly), that will add up to significant exposure," Dr. Roshini Raj, assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, wrote in her book, What the Yuck?! The Freaky and Fabulous Truth About Your Body.  "My two cents?  Use them sparingly, or, better yet, let your nails dry on their own.  It may take a bit longer, but it's worth the effort to save your skin."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio