Firstly, congratulations on the pregnancy! Now your doctor has included nearly everything under the sun under on her list of things to avoid while pregnant—but what about gel nails during pregnancy? With swollen feet and extra time, it may be tempting to head to the nail salon for that sleek gel manicure or pedicure you’ve been dreaming about, but before you do, consider how your indulgent spa session could affect Baby.
While gel polishes do consist of chemicals that can be dangerous when improperly consumed (i.e. inhaled or ingested), these are by and large unlikely to harm either you or your baby. Instead, the element of a gel manicure that some doctors attest to is the use of a UV light—or gel nail lamp—to set the polish. This light is used to speed the transition of the polish from gooey to diamond-hard and also ensures that the polish dries without any imperfections such as uneven stroke marks.
However, UV, or ultraviolet, light is a type of light wavelength naturally produced by the sun that has properties known to increase the risk of some types of cancers and other ailments, including skin cancer. Interestingly, small doses of UV radiation enhances natural production of vitamin D, a key contributor to calcium absorption in the body. However, these low levels of UV radiation are often experienced through contact with sunlight during the day. So, what does this mean for the woman seeking gel nails during pregnancy?
The Solution: Safely Wearing Gel Nails During Pregnancy
The UV rays created by the small hand lamps used in a gel manicure is quite minimal, and weak. Many doctors have explained that such low does of UV radiation are not expected to cause much damage to either mother or child, but still suggest limiting the use of gel nail lamps in beauty practices such as artificial tanning. Furthermore, some doctors suggest working in a well-ventilated room to avoid inhalation of dangerous chemicals. But, overall, it turns out you might not need to ditch your gel nails during pregnancy, after all.
While the UV light from gel nail lamps may not be outright taboo for pregnant women, it is important to be smart while using these lights. Some lights are safer to your skin health than others. Generally speaking, at-home, DIY gel nail kits appear to be the fun and safe alternative to a salon visit. These gel nail lamps exert a lower level of UV radiation, and therefore pose a lower risk of causing cancer. In fact, due to the lower doses of UV radiation, these lamps are a healthier alternative to all gel nail enthusiasts!
Make sure you consider a non-toxic gel nail polish, as this will greatly decrease your exposure to dangerous chemicals.
Be sure to ask your health care provider for any technical questions about having gel nails during pregnancy, and the reduced risks of using an at-home, DIY gel nail kit!