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Gel manicures: How to reduce the risk of skin cancer

Did you know that gel manicures can increase the risk of skin cancer? The UV (ultraviolet) lamps used to dry gel nail polish produce artificial UV radiation, similar to tanning beds or the natural UV radiation that the sun produces.

UV light can damage cells and increase the risk of skin cancers, such as squamous cell and basal cell cancer. It's important to always protect your skin. Here's what you can do to protect your hands at the nail salon.

Wear fingerless gloves

Clothing provides different levels of protection from UV rays. You can protect your hands during a manicure the same way that you would protect other parts of your body from the sun by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. A recommendation is to wear fingerless gloves to cover your hand as you reach into the UV lamp.

Use sunscreen

Sunscreen offers protection from the sun's UV rays and artificial light sources. Be sure to apply sunscreen to your hands before your manicure. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends putting on sunscreen with an SPF level of 30 or higher.

Always think about protecting yourself from the sun

Along with protecting yourself at the nail salon, it's important to do so when you're outside and exposed to the sun's UV rays. Here's what you can do:

  •  Stay in the shade to avoid the sun, especially between 10 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. This is when the sun produces the strongest rays and causes the most damage.
  • Apply sunscreen every day to skin that is exposed to the sun. Be sure to pay attention to the parts of the body that may have the most sun exposure, such as the hands and face.
  • Wear clothing that covers your legs and arms.
  • Don’t forget to protect your face. Wear sunglasses and a hat that can cover your face and head.

UV lights can cause other skin damage, such as aging, brown spots, wrinkles, and other unhealthy changes. It is recommended to use discretion when it comes to artificial light lamps and to protect yourself as much as possible.