A lot of women like gel manicures because they look good for weeks and feel natural. But some treatments touted as gels include acrylics, which can contain chemicals that may be harmful.
Just a day after Jane Ubell-Meyer got what she was told was a gel manicure she was in agony, suffering what seemed to be electric shocks whenever her thumb touched anything.
Jane Ubell-Meyer says, "The shock went not only down my thumb, it went up my … through my elbow up to my arm. And I'm in such pain, I'm almost crying from the pain."
After examining Jane, neurologist Orly Avitzur - who is also a medical consultant for Consumer Reports - immediately suspected the chemicals in the manicure.
Dr. Orly Avitzur says, "I believe that Jane had a gel manicure that also included acrylics. When I examined her thumb, I saw that it had been scraped raw by an electrical file. What I believe happened is that this caused the chemicals to seep in and cause nerve damage."
Believe it or not, most of the ingredients used in nail products are not tested for safety by the Food and Drug Administration before being sold.
And in fact, some of the acrylics used with gels can be associated with fingernail damage and deformity.
Dr. Avitzur adds, "Another problem with gel manicures is rough or painful filing of the surface of the nail, which can cause damage."
Dr. Avitzur says that after looking into gel manicures, she recommends sticking with good old-fashioned nail polish. If you're patient and get several coats, nail polish can last a week or more.
Consumer Reports says be sure to take basic precautions like making sure the nail technicians are licensed and that the salon is squeaky clean.