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UV Radiation and Gel Nails: Understanding the Risk of Skin Cancer

Gel nails have become super popular over the years, offering a long-lasting, shiny finish that can also withstand everyday wear and tear. However, the process of getting gel nails done in fact involve exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can have harmful effects on the skin and potentially increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

UV radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation that comes from the sun as well as artificial sources, such as tanning beds and UV lamps used in nail salons. When skin is exposed to UV radiation, it can cause DNA damage  in skin cells, leading to mutations and potentially cancerous growths.

The risk of skin cancer from UV radiation exposure is well-established. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, exposure to UV radiation is the most preventable risk factor for all types of skin cancer, including melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. In fact, just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of melanoma by 20%, and the risk continues to increase with each additional session.

While the amount of UV radiation emitted by nail lamps used in salons is relatively low compared to tanning beds, the effect of repeated exposure is cumulative and can still be concerning. According to a study published in JAMA Dermatology, the amount of UV radiation exposure from a single gel manicure is low, but the cumulative effect from multiple manicures over time may be significant.

So, what can you do to protect your skin while still enjoying the benefits of a gel manicure? One option is to wear sunscreen during the manicure process to shield your hands from UV radiation, ideally a sunscreen with at least SPF 30. You can also consider limiting your exposure by getting fewer gel manicures or opting for regular nail polish instead. If you do choose to get gel nails, it's important to monitor your skin for any changes or unusual growths and to see a dermatologist if you have any concerns.

While gel manicures are great, it's important to be aware of the potential risks associated with UV radiation exposure. By taking steps to protect your skin, you can enjoy your manicure while minimizing your risk of skin cancer.

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