Nailed It? Or Neglected It?: The Sunscreen Secret to Safer Manicures

by BiE - Beauty in Everything
Nailed It? Or Neglected It?: The Sunscreen Secret to Safer Manicures



Gold goddess, flirty floral, beach boss, striped stunner, and cascading shimmer are all types of gel manicures that entice you to embark on a pampering session at the salon and entail you to put your hands under UV-led strong lamps to beautify your nails. But under this beguiling exterior, arises a skin-tampering condition like mutation of skin cells, skin cancer & DNA damage. So, are gel manicures unsafe? Do they cause cancer?


Getting a gel manicure done is a tedious task, which entails you going through several rounds of drying your nails under the UV nail dryer which increases your chances of getting skin cancer and DNA damage. Incessant exposure of nails to UV nail dryers has side effects that could turn out to be detrimental to your skin, and it is crucial to take some preventive measures and protect your nails.


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The popularity of nail salons and the use of UV nail dryers

Nail adornment has a history dating back to the 18th or 19th century, with Ancient Egyptians and Asians using henna and crushed flowers to create rose-colored nails as a symbol of prestige. In Chinese society, the elite showcased high status with precious stones and metals on their nails. The Vietnamese played a pivotal role in popularizing intricate nail designs and sculptures, catapulting the nail beauty industry to global fame.


Nail embellishment, and beautification a.k.a nail paint designing slowly garnered popularity and leaped from being backstage to the show stoppers in the hair and beauty industry. Nail adornment became a mode of self-expression, a language that expressed one’s beliefs, interests, likes & dislikes, or simply what one is feeling at that moment.


Recently, platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook have been awash with captivating nail designs, driving users towards gel manicures, french nails, and acrylics. Amidst this social pressure to maintain perfect nails, we often neglect our nail health, risking conditions like DNA damage, cell mutation, brittle nails, and even skin cancer.


Gel manicures have become an instant phenomenon that has hit the roof all over the world and given rise to nail salons, nail spas, and freelancers as well. It gauged popularity in the beauty industry due to its durability, precision, and openness to experimentation. However, all good things come with a price.


Regular exposure to UV nail dryers to set the polish has proven to be harmful to the skin. Your nails go through at least 8-10 rounds of UV radiation to set the polish well and make it as durable as car paint to improve its longevity.


Exposure to UVA wavelengths leads to DNA damage, cell mutation, and skin cancer. It is imperative to protect your nails with the best sunscreen. Sunscreen with SPF 30 or above must be applied to your hands right before you start getting your nails painted for the ingredients to work their magic and give you adequate protection from UV radiation. Fingerless gloves are another option for sun protection


The Allure of UV Nail Dryers

Gel manicure hit off the salon menu instantly due to its benefits galore. They are very quick and as durable as car paint. Regular manicured nails and normal lacquer nails tend to chip off the minute you put your hands in a basin to wash off the leftover dishes or when you are trying to reach out to your phone post the manicure session. That’s not the case with gel polish.


Want chip-free nails for weeks? Vote for gel polish nails! Gel-manicured nails last for two to three weeks without chipping off, the shine and glossy appearance do not move and if there is an intricate design painted on your nails, the artwork won’t budge till its removal process.


In this fast-paced world of beauty and fashion, changing nail designs every week has become a reflection of one’s style and desire to keep up with the current trends. From minimalist French manicures to extravagant designs, everybody wants to express their individuality in the realm of fashion through their fingertips! This desire to transform their nails regularly has led to a surge in nail salons, spas, and parlors.


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Revealing the Dark Side

Beyond the appeal of gel-manicured nails lies a less glamorous aspect. Gel manicures commonly utilize UV-led lamps to solidify the polish into polymers. These devices house multiple bulbs emitting UV rays in the range of 340 to 395 nm, triggering the photo-initiators in the product. Throughout each nail session, your nails endure exposure to these potentially harmful UV rays for a minimum of 10 minutes, necessitating bi-weekly sessions.


In the name of self-expression and desire, we are exposing our hands to extremely harmful blue light which has detrimental effects. It is important to protect your nails. Here’s the list:


  • Premature Ageing: The skin around our hands is very sensitive and thin, it might be the thinnest layer of skin compared to the entire body. Exposure to UV radiation increases the chances of procuring photo-aging signs like the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. UV light also tends to loosen the skin and exacerbate skin conditions like sagging and premature aging.

  • Skin Cancer: Cell mutation and DNA damage are the subsets of skin cancer. UV radiation and exposure to these harmful wavelengths could lead to the early onset of skin cancer, particularly melanoma, non-melanoma, or balsamic skin cancer, that occurs only due to blue light.

  • Brittle nails are another example of the side effects of gel manicures. The skin around the nails and cuticles becomes extremely weak due to the constant exposure to gel manicure tools. It is recommended that people get gel manicures done only on special occasions.

    The Sunscreen Solution

    Sunscreen, in its radiant efficacy, holds the mantle for safeguarding the skin from all kinds of harmful stressors like sun rays, UV rays, blue light radiation, pollution, car combustion, dust, and other impurities. Fortunately, sunscreen also protects our skin from the effects of UV nail dryers that emit harmful UV wavelengths that could potentially damage the skin and lead to dryness, hyperpigmentation, and DNA damage.


    It is recommended that we use the best sunscreens with broad spectrum properties and have an SPF of 30 and above to give our hands and the skin around our nails ultimate protection from the baleful effects of UV-led nail dryers.

    Sundaze is an all-natural sunscreen, delivering broad spectrum protection with SPF 35 PA++ that gives you complete protection from UVA, UVB rays, and blue light emission. A non-toxic, silicone-free, and reef-safe sunscreen, that shields your hands from damaging radioactive wavelengths and allows you to savor the pleasure of adorning your nails and pampering yourself but guilt-free!



    Choosing Safe Manicures

    Choose wise recommendations over health-threatening & short-lived temptations.To put this in simpler words, look for safer manicure alternatives over UV-drying gel manicures and protect your nails.


  • LED lamps are curing gel drying tools and the ideal alternative to UV-led dryers. These LED lamps emit less UV radio-active waves and are less harmful to the skin.

  • Choose nail enamels that dry faster and yet possess a long durability attribute. There are builder gel paints also known as sculpting gels, that do not require UV dryers to harden the polish yet deliver precise, clean, and attractive results, just like gel paints.

  • ICE BATHS! The colder temperatures in an ice bath harden the chemicals in a gel polish and give you the finesse of UV dryers.

  • Change the mindset! Do not make getting gel manicured nails a mandate every week. Allow your nails to breathe and switch to regular nail enamels, or naked nails when you do not have any special occasion coming up. Pamper yourself with gel manicured nails only when it is extremely crucial.

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    Knowledge is empowering! Staying informed about all aspects of life is invaluable. Before embarking on any endeavor, it's essential to understand its pros, cons, and potential side effects. The journey of nail embellishment is a cherished ritual, symbolizing self-expression and uniqueness.


    But being well-informed about its side effects has hurt nobody! It is crucial to know the side effects of UV-led gel paint dryers and how harmful they are to your skin. Take charge of your actions, be responsible, be educated but also live a little! Once in a while, treat yourself to beautiful, exquisite, and attractive nails but under the right supervision and with the right tools and protection.

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