Spending a day having a relaxing spa manicure sounds like a great way to reduce stress and get your hands looking good again, but you might want to hold off on the gel. Gel manicures, which last longer than traditional manicures, use a coating over the nails that then has to "cure" under a unique light. The light, which contains UV rays, might be great for the anti-chip qualities of a manicure but could be damaging to skin. While it's not the same as the sun, and won't cause burns, the lights can still affect the skin on fingers and underneath the nail bed, causing damage
The light can actually impact collagen cells and DNA and years after exposure can result in cancer. While the lights are only used for a few minutes at the end of a manicure to set the polish, they are intense and, if you're someone that gets a weekly manicure, that exposure adds up. A recent report from the American Academy of Dermatology suggests wearing sunscreen or limiting gel manicures. While it's an excellent way to pamper yourself, over the long-term, it might be a beauty habit that becomes a health risk.