June is here and summer is just around the corner, even if Mother Nature hasn’t caught on yet! For many women, summer is a time to get our “groove back,” break out the new summer dresses, try out a new hair color, and of course get our regular manicures and pedicures. Summer is also a time when the sun’s UV rays are most intense, which means that most people will try to up their sunscreen protection in order to lower their risk of dangerous skin cancers.
However, there is increasing evidence that a seemingly benign manicure can substantially increase an individual’s risk of skin cancer. The good news is that not all manicures are risky; the bad news is that the extremely popular and convenient gel manicure is the culprit.
Gel polish is now offered at most nail salons with many brands and colors from which to chose. This manicure not only lasts longer than a traditional one—up to two weeks—but also offers the added convenience of being completely hardened with no drying time at all. The problem with gel manicures is that they require curing the polish four times under a UV light with each manicure. The UV light used in gel manicures is similar to that used in tanning booths, which have long been associated with an increased incidence of the most dangerous and deadly type of skin cancer, melanoma.
So, what’s a gal to do? First of all, you should know that there are alternatives that can be long lasting and safe. For example, Creative Nail Design’s Vinylux polish uses natural daylight to cure nail polish progressively over a week. It is applied just like regular nail polish, does not require a UV light box like gel manicures, and promises a full week of chip free wear. I’ve seen this polish at a few salons on the South Shore, but if your salon does not have it yet, you can order the color and top coat system online. If you are reluctant to let go of your gel manicures, you can still take steps to protect your hands from skin cancer. You can apply a high SPF, broad spectrum sunscreen to your hands 20 minutes before your manicure. Another solution is to buy sunscreen impregnated gloves with SPF 50. Cut the tips off so that you can get your manicure while exposing the least amount of skin to the harmful UV rays. You can find these gloves online from Coolibar. Follow these steps and your hands will thank you. Remember, healthy skin is in!
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