Gel manicures are great - they last forever and don't chip. But are they safe?

I love gel manicures. I even get gel pedicures. If you aren't familiar with this type of mani or pedi, it uses a special kind of nail polish that requires you to place your hand (or foot) under a UV light to harden and cure the polish.

It's that UV light that's the cause for concern, and specifically, the UVA light required. According to TODAY, "UVA rays are the most mutagenic wave length range of the UV spectrum, penetrating the skin more deeply than UVB rays and playing a role in skin cancer development and premature skin aging such as wrinkles and sun spots."

I'll admit - I've had that thought as I've been getting my mani/pedis. Is it smart - or even safe - to stick my hand under a light that's more powerful than the sun?

It turns out, the answer is we just don't know. The FDA doesn't regulate the lamps or the polish, and each brand of polish requires a different length of time to cure.

Even the American Academy of Dermatology is trying to figure things out. According to Dr. Chris Adigun, who specializes in nail disorders, the jury is still out - but one precaution you can take is to apply sunscreen to your hands 15 minutes before a gel manicure. She also suggests that the effects of gel manicures could be cumulative - so that's especially concerning if you have children you've allowing to get them.

SO what's the verdict? 

The jury is still out on the risks associated with gel manicures - partially because they're so new. For me, I'll definitely start putting sun block on my hands and feet before any gel polish.

What about you? Will this change your beauty routine? 

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