We all know that cigarettes cause cancer, but what about gel nails? Gel nails have been getting increasingly popular as of lately. We all like when our new polish design lasts longer and looks great. Gel nails tend to chip less as well.

Photo by Wei Ding on Unsplash

This trend is popular, but it is a longer process because of the time you have to spend drying them or curing them under a lamp. Removing them is also a tedious process. You must soak them in acetone for a bit in order to get the gel off your nails. This will leave your nails brittle and dry. Not very healthy for your nails at all.

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash


Are gel nails a good idea or are we just asking for melanoma?

Acral lentiginous melanoma is what this specific cancer is called. I don’t know how you feel, but I don’t want any kind of cancer.

Doctors are not sure if UV lamps that are used to cure gel nails are cancer causing. Some say that the UV rays from a gel curing lamp is not strong enough to cause cancer, but it is not recommended for those that are sensitive to UV light or have a strong history of cancer in their family.

A UV lamp used to cure gel nails is not as strong as a tanning bed lamp. You would have to change your gel nails about 3 to 4 times a week to have any risk, so chances are you are safe.

What to Look for:

You are going to want to inspect your nails on a regular basis if you love gel nails and get them frequently.

A streak or black line running down your nail. Have it checked by a dermatologist, especially if you have any swelling around that nail.

If you really like gel nails and don’t want to give them up just to be a little more on the safe side, I suggest you follow some simple rules.

  • Wear sunscreen on your hands. Even if the only time you apply it is before you get your nails done.
  • Wear gloves with the finger tips removed. You can ask your nail tech if they have any for you to use.
  • Ask your nail tech to use an LED lamp instead of a UV lamp.


Is the UV lamp you use to get your gel nails to blame for causing cancer? The answer is unclear. One thing is for sure though, you can protect yourself.

Maybe if you have history of cancer in your family, just stay away from gel nails or use an LED lamp instead.

Signs you have healthy nails are as follows:

  • Cuticles are existent (so don’t cut them!)
  • Nail plates are a pinkish-white color
  • Prominent half-moon shaped white section (called the lunula) at nail base
  • Nails and white tips are kept clean and smooth

I hope this keeps you aware and healthy. Here is to beautiful nails.

Blessed Be. Kari

Gel Nails, Are You at Risk for Cancer?

6 thoughts on “Gel Nails, Are You at Risk for Cancer?

  • May 8, 2019 at 12:19 PM

    Thank you for bringing the risk of cancer due to gel nails to the attention of the public. You mentioned the removal process includes soaking the nails in acetone to soften them. Is this acetone solution cancer-causing in itself of is it just the UV lamps we should be concerned with? I wonder also about the gel itself; if the gel is of any risk factor when it comes to cancer. Thanks!

    • May 8, 2019 at 12:28 PM

      Hi Shannon

      The acetone itself just dries out your nails so be sure to put on a repairing base coat. Also let your nails go natural for a bit in between your gels. Yes it is all about the UV lamp, change to an LED or ask your nail tech to do so. If you have to, show your nail tech my blog and maybe it will help her out as well. And the polishes, well there are many out there that have less chemicals and are Cruelty Free, another one of my blogs. Glad I could help and Blessed Be. Kari 

  • May 8, 2019 at 12:25 PM

    Very interesting article. I never thought about the small UV light, that is used for nail curing, would or could cause cancer. Does make sense. We are all warned about tanning beds and the exposure to the UV rays in them. 

    I have gotten gel nails a few times, however, I have not for awhile because I did not like how brittle and dry they made my nails. My nails were getting thin, they would easily crack and break, so I decided gel nails were not for me.

    Thank you for your insight and bringing these concerns to our attention.

    • May 8, 2019 at 12:39 PM

      Hello Myrna

      I am glad this was helpful for you. If you would like to help keep your nails from getting brittle and dry there are many ways to do so. Check out my Natural Nails and if you need any other help feel free to message me again. You can have gel nails if you take the proper precautions. Blessed Be. Kari

  • May 8, 2019 at 3:37 PM

    This was a very interesting discussion about the risk for cancer in gel nails. I’ve never had the opportunity to get mine done because I am allergic. I can only dream about getting them but I have followed this discussion quite a bit and think that it is best to heir on the side of caution. That being said I agree with your suggestions to protect your hands when getting your nails done. Thanks for sharing!

    • May 8, 2019 at 4:40 PM

      Thank you Marlinda

      Are you allergic to nail polish or acrylics? Hope my blogs can help you more in the future. Blessed Be


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