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Victoria Aquino, personal injury solicitorGel manicures have become hugely popular over the last few years as the most convenient way to have a glossy, non-chip manicure for up to four weeks.

Nail bars are thought to be one of the fastest growing businesses on the high street.  It has been reported that they have made up more than 16.5 per cent of new retail outlets in the past three years.  This is thought to be because manicures which cost around £20 are a favourite “quick fix” which allows women to feel pampered with a short treatment time.  Similar to the so called “lip stick test” which has proven that lipstick sales increase during an economic downturn, rather than splurge on expensive luxury items, many women indulge in a little affordable luxury.

Gel manicures uses a special type of nail varnish which is set using UV light.  I am also a fan of these types of manicures as they last a lot longer than regular manicures and the best thing about them is that you don’t have to waste time drying them.  They require no drying time and are smudge proof right away which saves valuable time!   However little did I know that I could have been exposing myself to dangerous UV rays.  At no time was I ever given a warning and I even have a kit that I use at home on a regular basis.

One expert at a medical conference, Dr Chris Adigun from New York University School of Medicine , said that the UV lamps damage the skin cells in much the same way as sunbeds.  He said that women who frequently get gel manicures should consider the skin cancer risk.  He advises that women wear suncream before having a gel manicure.  There are also reports of such manicures thinning nails and hiding any infections under the nail bed.

Dermatologist Dr. Michele S. Green, said it wasn't the first time she's heard of skin cancer risk from UV light required for gel manicures.

She said any time you're getting repeated UV exposure, you raise risk for skin cancer - but an occasional gel manicure likely won't cause problems.

However, for people who do get gel manicures frequently, they may risk common types of skin cancer or melanoma of the nail bed, which is more difficult to treat.

Only time will tell if this is just scaremongering or whether it really is a legitimate health concern.  In the meantime maybe I will start limiting my weekly manicure.

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