Long- and Short-Term Effects
Occasional gel manicures do not pose a serious threat to nail health; however, short-term risks include damaged nails that due to the length of time the formula is kept on nails. While nails are encouraged to grow without the interference of everyday wear and tear, gel manicures weaken the nail bed, taking away any progress of growth while the gel formula was on the nail.
“Because gel manicures are a newer technology, there are no proven long-term effects,” said Dr. Sobel. “However repeated exposure to UV lights will always raise concerns when it comes to aging and skin cancer, even if these risks are small. Premature aging to the backs of hands can include wrinkles, dark spots, and light spots, also known as actinic keratosis.”
Moderation Is Key
“In general, any manicure left in place for an extended period of time is not a good idea because you are not seeing what is going on underneath the nail polish,” said Chris Adigun, dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at New York University School of Medicine. “As is the case with most things, moderation is the key when it comes to gel manicures. If you get them regularly, you need to be aware of the possible consequences and see a board-certified dermatologist if a persistent nail problem develops.”