Could Your Manicure Give You Skin Cancer?

Posted by Dr. Patrick Proffer on July 17, 2018

Nail salon services in the United States raked in approximately $8.5 billion dollars in 2017 –– proving that Americans love to have pretty nails. But spending all that money on a manicure that chips and flakes in a matter of days feels like throwing away good money.

That is, until the development of the gel-manicure.

AdobeStock_7639152Gel manicures use a unique process of bonding shorter chains of molecules into longer ones, creating polymers that cause a microscopic tangling effect. The result is a manicure that is durable, flexible, and longer lasting.

Because gel manicures can last two to four weeks, depending on the speed of natural nail growth, this option is extremely popular among manicure enthusiasts. But there is a drawback in the manicure’s curing process –– drying with ultraviolet (UV) light.

How Gel Manicures Can Cause Skin Cancer

Research has already shown that exposure to UV light is a major risk factor for most skin cancers. Sunlight is the biggest source of UV light, with tanning beds and similar light sources coming in second. The light boxes used in gel manicures utilize the same UV light found in tanning beds.

As with any UV light, there are risks involved. Miss USA Contestant Karolina Jasko discovered she had melanoma skin cancer at just eighteen years of age. Suspicion fell to her regular gel manicures and the increased exposure to UV light, which is the same lights used in tanning beds.

Any time you expose your body to UV light, including your fingernails, you run the risk of damaging your skin cells and developing melanoma. Those who regularly get gel manicures are even higher at risk.

How To Prevent Skin Cancer During A Manicure

According to a new study by Blue Cross Blue Shield, skin cancer diagnoses are up nationwide, just under 7 percent over a four year period. Fortunately, melanoma is preventable.

These are a few steps you can take to help lower your risks of overexposure to UV light while getting a manicure, such as:

  • Frequent application of sunscreen with strong SPF ratings.
  • Using gloves with the fingertips cut off, exposing just the nail.
  • Avoiding the gel manicure completely – particularly if you have an increased risk of melanoma or a family history of skin cancer.
  • Simply asking for UV free options like OPI’s Infinite Shine, a three-step system that has been formulated to last up to 10 days and has a gel polymer top coat that cures in natural light – no UV needed.

Could You Have Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer, particularly melanoma, can be a frightening diagnosis. If you or someone you know has recently received a diagnosis of skin cancer, download our free guide on Mohs micrographic surgery.

The Mohs technique offers treatment for current condition, prevents regrowth, and keeps scarring to a minimum – maintaining your skin’s appearance, and your confidence.

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Additionally, if you notice any dark spots around your fingers or suspect you may have melanoma, schedule a consultation with Proffer Surgical Associates.

At Proffer, we care about keeping you educated on activities that increase your chances of developing skin cancer. Your skin matters to us, and we know it matters to you.

Call us today, and let our specialists help restore your skin’s natural beauty.

Order ZO Skin Health Products Now

Topics: News, Spa