The nail is an extension of your skin. It is grown from skin cells and it’s porous. If the nail or nail bed becomes damaged, it can take a long time to repair and damage can be permanent.

Manicures are a convenience more and more women are indulging in. With the more aggressive styles of nail treatment available they could cause lasting damage to the nail, and even increase the risk of cancer.

Vigorous scraping and filing can lead to permanent damage where the nail lifts from the bed. There is also a risk of infection if manicure instruments are not sterilised properly. Fungal infections, bacteria and viruses such as herpes and warts can all be passed on. Some nail varnishes and hardeners also contain ingredients such as formaldehyde and methacrylate, which can trigger an allergic reaction.

Ask your manicurist how their nail salon sterilizes their instruments, what credentials they have, and where and how they were trained. If in doubt do not have a manicure.

When it comes to ultraviolet gel manicures, each coat of nail polish is set using a UV light. Damage from UV lamps could damage the surrounding skin cells and under the nails in much the same way as sunbeds. A 2009* report found two middle age women with no personal or family history of skin cancer developed non-melanoma skin cancers on the back of their hands. Both women report previous exposure to UV nail light. I would strongly suggest that women limit having this treatment to once or twice a year. Whilst the risk is small it is still worth limiting the number of UV gel manicures you get.

Whilst perfectly manicured hands are great, youthful looking hands are even better. Make sure to apply a protective hand cream (to your hands, and nails) everyday, such as my Double Duty SPF15 Hand Cream.


*Occurrence of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers on the Hands After UV Nail Light Exposure FREE Deborah F. MacFarlane, MD, MPH; Carol A. Alonso, MD Arch Dermatol. 2009;145(4):447-449