(Washington Times, New York Post, Journal of the American Academy of Medicine – 3/7/13) Dr. C. Adigun, with the New York University School of Medicine, warned that the fad of replacing nail polish with the quick-hardening gel manicure could result in skin cancer. The risk of skin cancer is due to the UV light that is needed to dry the gel. The doctor advises, “Moderation is the key when it comes to gel manicures,” and advocates wearing sun screen for women who get frequent gel manicures.
Because UV lamps are not regulated, no one can determine what the proper dose of these harmful rays might be. A study in JAMA, 2009, reported two middle-aged females with no history of skin cancer presented with cancerous tumors of their hands, which is a very unusual area. It was postulated this was due to their exposure to UV nail lights. In contrast, LED lamps that can be used to dry non-gel nail polish don’t pose a risk, as they do not emit UV radiation. An additional issue with gel nail use is that it may lead to nail thinning, brittleness, and cracking that can take a considerable amount of time to correct. ANY DOCTOR HAS TO AGREE THAT GEL NAILS ARE NOT THE BEST THING FOR YOUR HEALTH, BUT THAT HAVING BEEN SAID, IF YOU HAVE EVER HAD ONE THEY ARE SO DURABLE THAT IT MAKES IT HARD TO GO BACK TO A REGULAR MANICURE THAT CAN CHIP IN A DAY OR TWO. THE DOCTORS COMMENTS ARE VALID. MODERATION WOULD DICTATE THAT YOU SAVE THE GEL MANICURE FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS SUCH AS GOING AWAY ON A VACATION, ETC. IF YOU DECIDE TO GET ONE. HERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO BE SAFER:
1) WEAR SUNSCREEN ON YOUR HANDS BEFORE PUTTING THEM UNDER THE UV LIGHTS. THIS MUST BE A “PHYSICAL” SUNSCREEN, SUCH AS THE “ELTA” BRAND, WHICH WE CARRY IN THE OFFICE. I HAVE A FAVORITE ONE THAT I USE. MANY OVER-THE-COUNTER SUNSCREENS ARE CHEMICAL, SO THEY DON’T EVEN START WORKING UNTIL 20 MINUTES AFTER YOU APPLY THEM…WELL BY THAT TIME I AM BACK IN MY CAR!
2) PUT ON GLOVES AFTER IN ADDITION TO THE SUNSCREEN JUST BEFORE THEY PAINT THE NAILS AND YOU GO UNDER THE UV LIGHTS. I USE A PAIR OF OLD LEATHER GLOVES (THEY MUST BE LEATHER, AS CLOTH WILL NOT BLOCK THE UV LIGHT) AND YOU CUT OFF THE FINGER TIPS. OR YOU CAN BUY “ROYAL NAILS ANTI-UV GLOVES” ON AMAZON. THE PRICE RANGES FROM $6-$25. I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO VERIFY SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE FOR THEIR UV PROTECTION CLAIMS. IF ANY OF YOU CAN, LET ME KNOW. I DO KNOW THAT LADIES FINE LEATHER GLOVES WILL WORK.
3) TRY TO AVOID CHEAP UV LAMPS THAT DON’T HAVE SPECIFIC TIMERS AND THE NAIL TECHNICIANS JUST LEAVE THEM ON UNTIL THEY ARE FINISHED WHAT THEY ARE DOING. THE TECHNOLOGY IS AVAILABLE TO USE LED LIGHTS WHICH ARE SAFE. SALONS GENERALLY DON’T BUY THESE AS THE ARE CONSIDERABLY MORE EXPENSIVE, AND SOME GEL POLISH ONLY RESPONDS TO UV LIGHT. THE MORE WE ASK THE SALONS FOR THE USE OF LED PRODUCTS THE SOONER THE INDUSTRY WILL BE MOVED TO PROVIDE SAFER GEL NAIL PRODUCTS.
Why Choose DSA Dermatology?
At DSA Dermatology, we bring to you the best of not one but three leading dermatologists in Plano TX,
Dr. Achtman is a board-certified Dermatologist with over three decades of experience. Having graduated from the medical school of McMaster University, he also studied at the UTSW Medical Center in Dallas, TX where he also served as Chief Resident in the Department of Dermatology. In addition to possessing extensive training and experience in cosmetic enhancement techniques, Dr. Achtman is widely known as a leading expert in the diagnosis and treatment of various skin cancers. He is an active member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Dr. Achtman goes the extra mile to understand your medical concerns and to ensure that he helps you meet your unique aesthetic goals.
Dr. Carmine G. McConnell is a board-certified physician in Plano TX. Having been trained at McMaster University, Canada, she went on to earn her board certification in Texas. Having served as Chief of Staff of her department at Plano Medical Center, she has over two decades of experience in practicing medicine in her practice and while assisting Dr. Achtman in the practice of dermatology. In addition to her extensive postgraduate training in laser therapy and aesthetic surgery, among other procedures, she possesses vast experience in both cosmetic dermatological techniques and family medicine. As a conscientious and caring physician, Dr. McConnell provides her patients with customized non-surgical treatments to help address health and aesthetic concerns related to the skin. She is also keen on helping patients understand their skin and how it can be cared for and protected.
Dr. Jordan Achtman is a board-certified dermatologist in DSA Dermatology at Plano, TX. Dr. J. Achtman graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and completed his residency in dermatology at UT Southwestern. His expertise spans general, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology. Dr. J. Achtman also has various special interests including chronic itch, infectious diseases of the skin, and the relationship between mental health and skin health. He is also very keen on helping patients form healthy skincare regimens and habits. In the hands of Dr. J. Achtman, you can be assured of innovative and cutting edge solutions for all your skin concerns.