The last thing I want to do is put a damper on anyone's plans for some fun weekend #NailArt. But if you're slated for a gel manicure anytime soon -- professional or DIY -- you may want to read this statement released today by the American Academy of Dermatology. Basically, it warns of the potential consequences getting too many gel manis in a row: brittle, peeling and cracking nails; an increased risk of skin cancer due to UV curing; and the potential to disguise nail disease. Grody, right?
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But, the folks at AAD don't want you to abandon your favorite salon specialty altogether -- they just want you to go on a "gel manicure diet" (their term, not mine). Here's how to make the practice safer and healthier for your hands.
Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen on your hands. That lamp you're sticking your hands under for the gel to cure is giving off UV rays. Not only can it increase your skin cancer risk, but it can also cause premature aging and cosmetic changes.
Take care of your cuticles. And make sure the manicurist does too; don't let her trim or push back the skin around your, as this can increase the risk of inflammation, infection and dryness.
Rehydrate nails several times a day. A moisturizing product like petroleum jelly can help reverse signs of brittleness or thinning.
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Go easy on the acetone. Yes, you need a lot of it to remove this stuff; that's part of the problem. But try not to soak your entire hand, which can contribute to dryness and irritation. Or better yet, invest in a handy removal kit that makes the whole processes much more pleasant.
Allow nails to regrow and repair. Between the chemicals in the gel itself and the acetone required for removal, these treatments are just plain tough on your nails -- and because they stay on so long, they may hide signs of damage or disease underneath. Rather than getting gel manis every two weeks, give yourself some time off in between to really pay attention to the health of your naked nails. If you notice anything suspicious, switch back to traditional polish -- and see a board-certified dermatologist, stat.
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