Research reveals you should wear sunscreen when getting a gel manicure.

A gift to the time poor, clumsy and those who just want nice nails, the gel manicure has earned its spot as one of the best beauty innovations ever. Period.

Regular polish pales in comparison and while SNS and acrylic nails are other options, the strictly in-salon removal can be a hassle.

However, the question remains… can the UV nail lamp cause skin damage and increase your risk to skin cancer?

Unfortunately have some bad news for you.

In a recent paper published last year by the University Hospital Galway in Ireland published in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology, gel manicures have draw back which needs to be considered.

Can a gel manicure cause UV damage?

The study concluded that the UV light needed to harden and cure your nails has “similar properties to traditional UV tanning sunbeds.” Commercial solariums were made illegal in NSW in 2014.

Despite this, there’s a bit of argument as to whether the dose we get from a manicure is enough cause for worry.

And here’s where the research get’s complicated.

Some studies say that they’re fine, with the exposure dosage and time spent using the machine not anywhere near enough to cause harm, however another more alarming study that analysed 17 different nail lamps stated that “DNA damage could be reached between eight and 208 visits to a salon” – an easy feat for the gel fan, while another suggested that you could receive an entire day’s recommended energy dose in less than 10 minutes.


So it turns out that the royals are only allowed to wear one shade of nail polish, and we are not fans of this rule. Post continues after audio.

Would wearing sunscreen to a gel manicure help?

In short – yes. It is essentially a precautionary measure and to protect your hands from ageing UV rays.

To err of the side of caution, the USA Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology recommend clients to apply a “a broad-spectrum sunscreen to the hands,” and researchers agree.

They advise people to apply a broad spectrum, high sun protection sunscreen 20 minutes before your manicure, just as you would if you were going to the beach. They also recommend using finger-less gloves.

But, you do you, as long as you’re sun safe.

This is life with and without nails… all manicure devotees will know this to be true.