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Tampa doctor talks about safety of gel manicure

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Gel manicures are all the rage. They are advertised to be more durable and last twice as long as traditional manicures. But there are also concerns about the safety of gel manicures.

"With everything you do there is some risk involved," Dr. Jill Hechtman, a Tampa physician, said. "I think there are a couple of factors that are more riskier with these manicures but I think it you have knowledge about them, you can help prevent them."

A gel manicure involves several layers of polish and curing the nails under a UV lamp.

"Kind of like tanning beds, it increases your risk for exposure to the sun and risk of skin cancer.," Dr. Hechtman said. "There is a very minute risk of this. Remember your fingers are in the UV light or LED light, which is what I recommend, for only a few minutes at a time."

If your salon uses UV lights, Dr. Hechtman recommends that you apply sunscreen to your hands first as an extra layer of protection

Another concern is how the gel manicure is removed. The polished nails must be soaked in acetone, for 5 to 10 minutes at a time and that sounds risky to some.

"There are certain brands that soak off in less time," Dr. Hechtman said. "I would choose that brand as opposed to the other brands."


Dr. Hechtman also warns you not to allow the nail technician to use tools to push off the nail polish. She says soaking the nails long enough so you can slide the polish off with your own fingernail is safer. That decreases the risk of thinning your nails.


In the end, Dr. Hechtman believes the level of concern swirling around gel manicures is overblown. She says knowing the risks and taking proper precautions with minimize the risks involved.

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