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December 10, 2023

Preserving Beauty and Nail Health: The Role of UV Gel Nails and UV Light

SOCAH Center

Ultraviolet (UV) gel nails have become a widespread choice for achieving stunning and glossy nails. The advantages of UV gel nails are undeniable, with benefits including long-lasting manicures, chip-resistant layers, and resistance to fading, along with enhanced protection against nail breakage. While UV gel nails offer remarkable results, it’s essential to consider the potential drawbacks, particularly in the context of UV light exposure.

Understanding UV Gel Nails and Their Effects

UV gel nails provide an array of benefits, but it’s crucial to be aware of potential concerns. One such issue is the need for industrial-strength acetone to remove UV gel nails, which may weaken natural nails and lead to dry skin in the surrounding areas. Additionally, UV gel nails require exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation during the curing process. Let’s explore the implications of UV radiation.

UV Radiation and Its Impact

UV radiation is a crucial component of UV gel nail application, as it facilitates the curing process. To comprehend UV radiation, it’s essential to consider that the sun emits various types of UV radiation, including UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. These rays consist of energy wavelengths that can induce skin tanning and potentially contribute to skin cancer development. UVB rays are also known to cause wrinkles.

While the UV gel nail curing process involves relatively short exposure to UV light, the cumulative effect of frequent UV gel nail treatments and focused UV radiation can accelerate the aging of the hands. This may manifest as the appearance of fine lines, brown spots, age spots, and even an increased risk of developing skin cancers.

Protecting Your Skin

The potential risks associated with UV gel nails don’t necessarily mean you have to forego this beauty enhancement. Instead, you can continue enjoying UV gel nails with some simple protective measures. Consider wearing opaque gloves with the fingertips cut off to safeguard the skin on the back of your hands. Additionally, apply sunscreen to your hands before heading to the nail salon. However, applying sunscreen right before UV exposure is not as effective, as chemical sunscreens typically take about 30 minutes to become active.

To enhance protection, opt for mineral-based sunblocks like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These physical blockers of UV radiation offer immediate protection, much like standing under a covered awning that shields you from the sun. This approach helps maintain your skin’s health and youthful appearance.


UV gel nails offer a practical solution for individuals dealing with fragile, easily broken nails or seeking to conceal unsightly nails undergoing fungal infection treatment. Beauty doesn’t have to come at the expense of skin health. By implementing protective measures like gloves and mineral-based sunblock, you can continue to enjoy the benefits of UV gel nails while minimizing the potential risks associated with UV light exposure. For additional information on nail health or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nikki D. Hill, a board-certified dermatologist specializing in nail conditions, please contact our office or schedule an appointment online.

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