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Your Gel Manicure & UV Radiation: Protect Your Hands

Mostly everyone knows that they must protect their skin when they’re spending time in the sunshine. After all, ultraviolet radiation can cause havoc with your skin, leading to premature aging, burns, and even skin cancer.

Most of us wouldn’t subject our skin to UV radiation exposure at the beach. Yet many of us inadvertently expose ourselves to UV radiation in other areas of our lives. For example, did you know that you can expose yourself to ultraviolet radiation via your computer, phone, or at the salon?

Both your computer and smartphone emit UV light, which, over long periods, can damage your skin. And the salon? That’s even more dangerous since UV lamps emit high volumes of ultraviolet radiation in a short space of time.

With the popularity of gel polish manicures on the rise, we thought it’d be useful to put together a helpful guide on how to protect hands from UV lamps. This will ensure that you can receive treatment that makes your nails look like a million dollars without worrying about the damage you may be causing to your nails and hands. 

Are Gel Manicures Damaging Your Skin?

There’s nothing better than hitting the nail salon for your routine gel manicure. Yet while the short-term aesthetic— fantastic nails — are obvious, the long-term impacts of putting your hands under the UV lamp are less well-known among the general public.

The truth is that any exposure to UVA radiation should be cause for concern because it can penetrate deep into the skin and cause long-term damage, such as premature aging, wrinkles, and dark spots. In some cases, it can even lead to skin cancer. And as we know, the UV lamps nail technicians use emit a lot of UVA radiation. Even though most people only spend a minimal amount of time with their hands under the salon’s lamps, repeatedly having manicures and pedicures increases the risk your exposure, and in turn, the risks

Some of the most common side effects of gel manicures include:

Premature Aging

You visit the salon because you want your hands to look better, not worse. In the short term, the salon does its job. But on a longer-term basis, you’ll be at risk of premature aging around your hands. UV lamps are especially problematic for the hands because the skin in that part of your body is thinner than in other areas, which means it’s quicker to lose elasticity and show signs of aging. 

If you want to keep your hands looking youthful as you age, then be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen before you visit the salon. 

Weakened Nails

Strong and healthy nails are a sign of a strong and healthy body. One of the reasons why so many people moved to gel manicures is because of the damage posed by artificial nail applications. But the materials and equipment used in the procedure, particularly acetone, can compromise the strength and appearance of nails, making them weaker and more brittle. Not only that, but acetone can irritate or even damage the skin surrounding your nails. Because of this, making sure you apply plenty of sunscreen in enough time before your visit to the nail salon will help protect your skin.

Prolonged Exposure to UV Radiation

As we mentioned earlier, you should be wary of any exposure to UV radiation. If you’re only getting a gel manicure when a special occasion like a wedding rolls around, then it’s unlikely that you have too much to worry about. 

But if you’re getting a gel manicure every couple of weeks, then you may be exposing yourself to dangerous levels of UV radiation. You can think of those UV lights for your hands as mini tanning salons, which have been shown to dramatically increase the risk of skin cancer. 

The Best Way to Protect Your Hands from the UV Lamp

Now that we’ve established the risks of gel manicures, the question is, can you do anything about it? We’re happy to announce that the answer is yes, you can. UV rays pose a threat to your skin, but we humans have come up with a handy defense mechanism – your sunscreen. 

Be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen to your hands (and other areas that will be exposed to UV radiation) at least 15 minutes before you attend your salon appointment. We recommend this because it gives out water-resistant sunscreen enough time to absorb into the skin – and the same goes for your toes too!

Here at Black Girl Sunscreen, we offer a wide range of outstanding, water-resistant sunscreen products that will ensure that your skin is kept safe and sound while you’re making your nails look beautiful. We recommend using a high broad spectrum product when exposing your skin to UV lights, such as Make it Hybrid SPF 50 Sunscreen or Make It Glow SPF 45. 

Introducing the new SunShield UPF 50+ Gloves

Need more sun protection? Black Girl Sunscreen has you covered, literally. Our SunShield UPF 50+ gloves give the ultimate sun protection for your hands, hands down. Made with UPF 50+ to block over 98% of harmful UVA and UVB rays from penetrating your skin, SunShield gloves are created with soft and stretchy nylon and spandex fabric that fits virtually any hand size.

Protecting your hands from radiation caused by UV and LED nail lamps so you can maintain your mani, just got easier.