Updated technology is providing manicures that are longer lasting, more attractive and more detailed. However, recent developments reveal that these manicures can also be detrimental to the health of your nails and the skin on your hands. Here is what you need to know to make sure that you are keeping your nails both healthy and attractive. 

 Photo via Groupon

Photo via Groupon

Gel/Shellac: These are great looking, long lasting manicures providing a polish that, once cured, is tough enough to be made into its own nail extension. However, the UV lights that are used to dry the gel has been known to contain UVA rays that may be cancer causing. Although there is no proof that this is the case, doctors are sending out a warning that, depending on the strength of the bulb and the dryer, the light emitted could result in skin cancer or contribute to signs of aging. To try and minimize the chances of this happening, it is recommended to apply a layer of broad spectrum sunscreen before your gel manicure. 

Although the likelihood that UV lights can lead to skin cancer is unknown, there is research that supports that the application of the polish and removal with acetone can be drying to the nail and the surrounding skin resulting in brittleness and nail splitting. When taking off the polish, some of the gel may peel from your nail and take its top layer with it.  

At-Home Gel Kits: Because these kits use LED dryers as opposed to UV dryers, the likelihood of getting skin cancer is reduced. However, they still require that users soak their fingers in pure acetone for 10-15 minutes to remove the polish. This is extremely damaging. To try and counter the damage, it is recommended to take a break from the gel and apply a moisturizer containing dimethicone on and around the nail to keep it from cracking or breaking. 

Traditional Manicures: Over the years, a few ingredients have been found to be harmful when added to nail polishes. These include formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin and camphor. Despite news that these ingredients are toxic, many salons still use polishes that contain them. Also, although they may not require that you soak in acetone to remove nail polish, they may still use a remover that contains the solvent. 

The good news is that, in a traditional manicure, the use of UV lamps is eliminated, replaced instead with non cancer causing heat lamps. However, aggressive cleaning which may be performed during this type of manicure can be damaging, separating the nail plate from the bed. The older you are, the higher risk you run for this to happen.

At-Home Manicures: Being that you can control what products you use for both polishing and removal, you can avoid incorporating harmful ingredients into your manicure. There are plenty of products that are recommended that are free of harmful chemicals and can keep your hands and nails healthy. At home manicures may not last as long as ones that are performed in a salon, but for some, it's worth the price of healthy nails.

If you love to treat yourself to a manicure every now and then, or even every week, it is a good idea to be aware of the risks involved. That way you can take care to avoid possible damage that may occur to your nail and skin, and here at J'adore, healthy nails are #manigoals.

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