Are You Sacrificing Health in the Name of Beauty?

6 sometimes-risky pampering practices and how to indulge in them safely
gel manicure Photo: marigo20/Shutterstock
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Gel manicure: Thumbs down

Gel manicures get a thumbs up from women who love the smudge-free, chip-free results. Unfortunately, repeated gelling leaves nails thin, weak and prone to peeling. That’s not all. Gel manicures use UV light to harden polish. “Because of the link between ultraviolet light and skin cancer,” says Baxt, “I don’t recommend gel manicures.” Even so, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to officially come out against their use. If you really love gel manicures, save them for special occasions so that your nails have a chance to breathe and recover after the polish is removed. Ask the nail technician to slather the backs of your hands with a zinc- or titanium-oxide based sunblock before you stick them under the lights.