Gel manicures have gotten a bad rap lately. Salon-goers are starting to wonder if that flawless, long-lasting shine is worth the potential risks involved with the service. Before you go back to the standard polish manicure, read on to find out three important facts about UV and LED lights.
-The risks associated with UV lamps are small.
According to a report published by The Jama Network Journals, the risk of cancer and other UV-A radiation-related conditions is small, noting, “Our data suggests that, even with numerous exposures, the risk of carcinogenesis remains small.” What does that mean? In short, even if you get regular gel manis, the time you spend under the lamp is so short that the chance you’ll incur a cancer or other type of issue is not that much greater than non-gel users. In fact, frequent exposure to the sun can be even more dangerous than the standard gel manicure.
-LED lights cure faster than UV lights.
Most salons have steered away from UV lamps and are now strictly curing gel polish with LED light. Nowadays, pretty much all gel lacquers on the market are UV- and LED- compatible, making it easier for techs to use the curing lamp of their choice. So what does that mean for you? If you’re concerned about the potential risks involved with gel manis, ask your tech if he or she uses LED light. According to allure.com, they can cure gel polish anywhere from 5-45 seconds, a notable difference from the two minutes it takes to cure under UV light, which means less time and less exposure to potentially harmful rays.
-SPF is still your BFF.
You wouldn’t step foot in the sun without your trusty sunblock, right? That same mantra should be applied to your next visit to the salon. Protecting your hands from environmental elements is key to slowing down signs of aging anyway, so why not wear SPF to protect you from exposure to UV light during a gel polish application? If you’re still concerned, some salons now offer UV-A protective fingerless gloves to wear during your service, but our thought process: If the risks are small and you’re sporting a strong SPF, it isn’t necessary to tack on another layer.
*"Study Examines UV Nail Salon Lamps, Risk of Skin Cancer." 30, April 2014. EurekAlert!
*"The Gel Manicure Lowdown: UV Vs. LED." Maddie Aberman. 16, Dec 2014. Allure