If you're anything like me, you are obsessed with having perfectly polished nails at all times. I have been painting my nails since the age of three. I love getting my nails done and can't stand chipped nails. That is why I have turned to gel manicures. A gel manicure usually lasts me about three weeks, while a regular manicure will last me a little over a week. Unfortunately, I have learned that BOTH gel and regular manicures come with some risks. So what do we do?
Lets start with gel manicures. For gel manicures, the technicians apply a special polish to nails and then cure the product, usually for four to eight minutes, using ultraviolet light. While with regular manicures, technicians will apply regular nail polish and then let it air dry for about 10-15 minutes.
Dermatologists have discover that the light used to set the gel manicure is actually the same kind of light that causes sun damage to our skin. But don't worry! A study shows that on average it would take about 11 visits over two years to reach the levels of exposure that would cause sun damage. Even though the risk for developing cancer is small, the risk is still there.
To limit the risk, the study’s authors recommended using sunscreens or UVA protective gloves when getting a gel manicure. I actually purchased a pair of our Original Driving Gloves, and cut the tips off to use every time I get a gel manicures. These are great because they are UPF/SPF 50+. and they block 98% of UVA/UVB rays. I would highly recommend purchasing two pairs; one for driving or other daily activities, and one for when you are running to the nail salon for a gel manicure (you must cut the tips).
Even though I am fully aware of the risks, and I usually wear my UVA protective gloves, I try not to get a gel manicure every time I go in to get my nails done. This is because gel actually weakens the nails causing the top layer of the nail to peel off, and break easily. So every once in a while I like to get a regular manicure, or just get my nails cleaned to help them breathe and repair.
Now let's look at regular nail polish, and it's risks. Most nail polish brands, usually used at nail salons, contain harsh toxic chemicals that could be harmful to your health!
The idea of nail polish as a risky substance gained traction in 2006 when public health advocates began a nationwide protest concerning three compounds — often referred to as “the toxic trio” — in leading nail polish brands.
The trio consisted of a known carcinogen, formaldehyde, used as a hardening agent, and two materials linked to developmental defects: toluene, to evenly suspend color, and the plasticizer dibutyl phthalate, or DBP, to add flexibility and sheen.Here are a few that Mitzi told me she loves using and recommends. They use no toxins or chemicals making them natural and safer to use than gel or other nail polish brands:
Created by Zoya and Michael Reyzis of Art of Beauty, Zoya nail polish revolutionized the nail industry when it began making long-lasting, toxin-free polish. Eliminating toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and DBP from its polishes, Zoya has quickly become one of the most popular 5-free nail polish brands out there. With new colors released each season, you’ll be sure to find the perfect shade for every occasion.
- See more at: http://www.zoya.com/
Making the change to non-toxic nail polish is one you won’t regret. Scotch Naturals is a safe and eco-friendly alternative to conventional polish. Their revolutionary water-based formula delivers long lasting, salon-quality results in a stunning array of sophisticated shades. Their polishes contain none of the chemicals found in typical nail polish. They are “3 Free” as well free of ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, nitrocellulose, acetone, and heavy metals.
- See more at: http://www.scotchnaturals.com/
Aiming to bridge the gap between green beauty and luxury cosmetics within the nail space, RGB is a modern product line. Featured in national press, including Vogue, W Magazine, Allure, and The Today Show, RGB’s formula removes harmful carcinogens often found in nail color. The chip-resistant and high shine nail colors, contain no Formaldehyde, Toluene, DBP (dibutyl phthalate), Formaldehyde Resin, or Camphor, making it a Five Free Formula. All RGB products are cruelty free, vegan, and made in the USA.
- See more at: http://www.rgbcosmetics.com/
LVX brings you luxury and fashion without compromise. They are dedicated to launching the hottest collections for each season by translating the top runway colors based on emerging trends in high fashion. Their long lasting, chip resistant and gel-like formula is free of the 5 toxic and harsh chemicals found in most common nail lacquer formulas. LVX products are formulated without the use of Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, DBP, Toluene and Camphor. LVX nail lacquer is cruelty free. All products are produced in the U.S.A.
- See more at: https://www.shoplvx.com/
We recommend stocking up on a few of your favorite colors from any of these brands, and taking it with you when you get mani/pedis to ensure that you are safe and your nails are healthy. Also, don't forget your UVA protective gloves, and sunscreen before gel manicures. Some nail salons have and offer gloves when you are there, however, they are usually not UVA/UVB tested. Make sure you get the right pair at www.sundriven.com and stay safe!
Authors: Nazanin Yashar