UV Protection: A Good Idea for Gel Manicures

When you go for a manicure at your local nail salon, you might take ultraviolet radiation (UVR) into consideration. Gel manicures are typically dried by nail lamps that produce UVR, and though the levels and thus the risk are quite low, they are “not insignificant,” according to Elizabeth K. Hale, MD, a Vice President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. Over a lifetime, they could slightly increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying a moisturizing, SPF 15+ sunscreen to your hands and nails before using a UV dryer. This will also protect your hands against wrinkles, brown spots and other signs of aging. Some nail lamps produce LED (lightemitting diode) light, or use a fan, neither of which poses any risk. “If you are not sure which type of nail lamp your salon uses, ask your nail technician,” says Dr. Hale. “Or, you can play it safe by letting your nails air-dry naturally.”