Can gel manicures be deadly? - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Can gel manicures be deadly?

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Its one of the latest beauty trends. Some might even say it's a breakthrough in the billion dollar nail industry. But how safe are they?

Gel manicures offer a smudge-proof, chip-resistant polish that can last for weeks.

"It's easier to put on and it lasts longer," said Doris Stuvall of Bluefield.

But doctors say, it's a trend that can kill.

"Damaging and maybe lethal consequences," said Dr. Nelson Velazquez, a dermatologist with office in Beckley and Princeton.

Gel nail polish is more durable than other polishes on the market. There's no dry time, but a UV light is used to "cure" or set the polish on nails. It's that part of the process Dr. Velazquez said is the most concerning.

"It's also hitting your fingers, as far as your skin and those are changes that can be developing secondary to sun damage to the skin," said Velazquez.

And even skin cancer. According to a recent study by the American Academy of Dermatology, the acetone needed to soak and break down gel polish can be harmful as well, causing weak, brittle and thinning nails.

But with prom and wedding seasons here, Nail Extenders Salon Owner, Tina Otey said, appointments are booking fast; all for gel manicures.

"We've definitely seen an increase in business," said Otey, who's been a salon owner for more than 20 years.
 
Otey said there's no doubt the concerns with gel manicures are real, but she said safety is key.

"We offer sunscreen for our customers, at least SPF 50," she said.

Dermatologists say wearing sunscreen is always recommended to protect from UV damage. They say if you want gel manicures, get them in moderation to allow your nails to recover.
If there's any signs of discoloration or irritation on your skin or nails, see a doctor immediately.