Attention anyone who gets their nails done on the reg!
As you may know, gel manicures have become a staple in nail salons — and many people’s beauty routines — for years now. The gel polish tends to last longer and is more durable than regular polish. Not to mention the fact it dries A LOT faster, all thanks to the ultraviolet light lamps required to cure the gel. Instead of waiting for a gel nail polish to air dry, the ultraviolet light basically activates the chemicals inside the product, causing it to harden and give all of those benefits of a long-lasting manicure.
Sounds great, right? It means less time having to worry about your nails chipping, breaking, or peeling off in less than a week after dropping a ton of cash to get them done. Who wouldn’t want that?!
However, the manicure is not all that it’s cracked up to be! Why is that? Well, it turns out a new study found that the UV nail polish dryers required for that type of manicure can cause cells to die and lead to cancer-causing mutations in cells.
According to a study published in Nature Communications on Tuesday, the researchers discovered that doing just one 20-minute session under the UV dryers led to 20 to 30 percent cell death. And when they did three consecutive 20-minute sessions exposed to the light, it resulted in 65 to 70 percent of cell death. The remaining cells ended up with mutations that are usually seen in skin cancer. Yikes! Ludmil Alexandrov, the study author and a bioengineering professor at University of California San Diego, explained in a statement to Phys.org:
“We saw multiple things: first, we saw that DNA gets damaged. We also saw that some of the DNA damage does not get repaired over time, and it does lead to mutations after every exposure with a UV-nail polish dryer. Lastly, we saw that exposure may cause mitochondrial dysfunction, which may also result in additional mutations. We looked at patients with skin cancers, and we see the exact same patterns of mutations in these patients that were seen in the irradiated cells.”
The study authors also found that those who developed rare cancers in their fingers often got gel manicures using UV dryers. This included pageant contestants and estheticians. University of California San Diego researchers then noted that while studies conducted on the exposure of UV light in tanning beds have proven them to be carcinogenic, there hasn’t been much research into the damaging effects of nail polish dryers — even though they also use UV light.
Alexandrov finds this to be an issue, as these devices are “marketed as safe” to the public when it turns out that’s not exactly true:
“If you look at the way these devices are presented, they are marketed as safe, with nothing to be concerned about. But to the best of our knowledge, no one has actually studied these devices and how they affect human cells at the molecular and cellular levels until now.”
Oof. So does this mean we should stop getting gel manicures? Are they that risky?? Researchers stated that more data needs to be collected over several years in order to “accurately quantify the risk for skin cancer of the hand in people regularly using UV-nail polish dryers.” But considering there are alternatives at the nail salon, it might be a good idea to go ahead and switch to another type of mani.
What do YOU think, Perezcious readers? Do you plan on avoiding gel manicure moving forward? Let us know in the comments below! You can also ch-ch-check out the entire study HERE!
[Image via Movieclips/YouTube]