I am constantly painting my nails. Whether it is for fun or for an event I have, I always find myself painting away. When I first heard about a “gel manicure,” I was intrigued. I do not go to get my nails done very often, but the gel manicure was said to be “different.” Things I heard included: “It lasts longer!” or “The nail polish doesn’t get chipped!” So obviously I wanted to give it a try. And the things I had heard from people were pretty accurate. My nails definitely did last longer! They were more expensive, but again, they lasted. But when I heard about gel manicures being linked to cancer, I was in shock! I knew so many people who got them frequently. I decided to do some research on the topic and see whether what I had heard about gel nails being linked to cancer was true.
Here, the null hypothesis would be that gel manicures are not in any way linked to cancer and do not cause it. The alternative hypothesis would be that gel manicures do have a correlation to cancer, and there is a possibility that gel manicures can cause cancer.
According to Dr. Oz, gel manicures have been said to cause infection or allergic reactions. He performed a study by sending a group of women out to get gel manicures to see the potential threats of the manicure. The main concern about gel manicures for people are the UV lights. The UV lights are used during the manicure to dry the nails. These lights are what have been said to possibly increase the risk of skin cancer. The lights release UV radiation, according to skincancer.org. The lamps generate UVA rays, which have been connected to both premature skin aging and skin cancer. A dermatologist interviewed on Dr. Oz explained that many women are seeing more damage to their nails after receiving gel manicures. She explains that the removal process can also be harmful. Unlike regular manicures, gel manicures must be soaked in acetone to break down the gel. After soaking in acetone, our nail polish must then be scraped to get rid of the actual gel polish. Because the removal of the manicure requires so much, it can cause our nails to thin.
But even after doing more research, the idea that gel nail polish increases our risk of skin cancer was not confirmed. SkinCancer.org explains that even the most intense of the UV light devices presents only a small UV risk. The source goes on to say that the risk for cancer is a far lower risk than that presented by UV tanning devices. A suggestion given to be safe is to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to the hands 20 minutes prior to UV light exposure.
So, although there are some risks taken while receiving a gel manicure, the risks did not seem to be as high as I thought they’d be. It is important to be careful, and I guess if I ever receive a gel manicure again, I will apply sunscreen prior to protect myself. But overall, there were no serious risks. Although the alternative hypothesis was not entirely correct, the null hypothesis was not correct either. There are links to gel manicures and cancer, but they are extremely small. A third variable to why one might be at risk for cancer after receiving a gel manicure might not be because of the manicure itself, but rather they are out in the sun too much.