Lifestyle: Advantages, disadvantages to gel manicures

manicure marin mcdonough

Julia Meehan

Consumers pampering themselves with gel manicures may be surprised to learn of its connection to skin cancer.

“This is news to me,” said Marin McDonough, a open-option freshman. “I probably would change my viewpoint on whether or not to get them if there was proven research.” 

Clients hands are exposed to the rays for about a minute while they’re under the UVA lamp. As said by Finesse Spa Salon, the process of getting a gel manicure works like this, nail technicians first apply a base coat then cure the nails under the UVA light. Next, they apply two coats of the color the client chooses then cures it. Last step is applying a top coat and placing the nails under the light for a finished look.

“Most clients do gel manicures because it lasts longer about two weeks, doesn’t chip off opposed to regular nail polish where you get about three days’ worth,” said Mikayla Smith, a stylist at Finesse Spa Salon.

There are plenty of benefits for getting gel manicures from the appearance of a glossy, shiny finish to the durability of the manicure. Despite the benefits, Dr. Chris G. Adigun points out in a press release by the American Academy of Dermatology, repeated exposure can perhaps have an increasing effect, especially in people who start getting gel manicures at a young age. 

“The UV dose that you receive during a gel manicure is brief, but it’s intense,” said Dr. Adigun in the release. “Over time, this intense exposure can add up to cause skin damage.” 

Many nail salons in the Ames community are aware of gel manicures potential result in skin cancer. According to Studio7 Salon and Spa, the best advice they can give to a client is using SPF of 30 or higher lotion before they come in for their appointment. T

hey also advise to stay clear from applying the sunscreen to your nails since it may affect the curing process of the gel.  Another possibility is wearing a pair of dark shaded gloves with cut out areas for the nails.

Normally, nail salons give options to customers to use lotion or cream. But Studio7 Salon and Spa said the lotion is a part of the service and it doesn’t protect the client’s skin from the UVA light.

“The polishes we use here are non-toxic. Anytime you have a chemical involved, there’s a risk of some sort of reaction,” said Krista Wrage, the owner and executive designer of Studio7 Salon and Spa. “Our salon tries to take as many precautions as possible to make sure our polishes are harmless to the client.”

There are proper precautions salons and consumers need to take in consideration to prevent these outcomes. Oftentimes, students are exposed to the awareness of these dangers from social media, billboard signs and commercials.

“I was scrolling through Twitter when I saw something once; I totally ignored it because my hands are pretty with gel manicures,” said Lexi Schwien, a freshman in pre-business. “I bet I could read a few articles and skip out on gel because it’s clearly not worth it.”

Even overprotective parents and agitating friends are hackling those who get gel manicures.

“Yes, I’ve heard this a lot, mostly from my mom who seems to be very cautious about everything so I kind of took it with a grain of salt,” said Clarissa Merschman, freshman in journalism and mass communication said.  “It definitely isn’t anything new to me, but I really enjoyed getting them, so I disregarded the idea.”

If a student is worried about the possible outcomes from a gel manicure, a regular manicure is their next option. Some students would rather get their money’s worth and not have their nails ruin after a few days, so similar possibilities include acrylics or dip.

“I think gel works a lot better than the typical manicure, however, I think dip is superior to them both, that’s why I don’t gel as much anymore,” Merschman said.