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Op-Ed: Are Acrylic Nails Ruining Your Natural Nails?

We all want that clean posh girl look, and having your nails clean and maintained is a must to achieve this look. But are acrylic nails the right way to go? They are spendy and have harsh effects on your natural nails and health. After reading this article, you might think differently about those fancy nails. 

What are acrylic nails? Acrylic nails are fake nails made from a combination of liquid and powdered chemicals that harden after you paint on them. 

We look at our nails, admiring the work, and then in two weeks, it’s time for them to come off or to get a new pair. Without proper care, the removal process could be highly damaging to your natural nails. Even with reasonable care, it leaves your nails thin and weak. 

Studies have shown that acrylic nails could go as far as leading to cancer. Working in a nail salon could be very damaging from breathing chemicals used daily to make these beautiful nails. Long-term nail salon employees could be at an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer. 

In 2019 a study by environmental pollution found that nail technicians working in nails for over 20 years had a significantly higher chance of developing cancer, possibly due to heightened exposure to harmful chemicals. 

Some of these chemicals are, 

Benzene, Formaldehyde, and Ethyl. 

Benzene is linked to blood cancers such as leukemia, myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This chemical is found in nail polish, removers, nail hardeners, and finger glue. 

Formaldehyde is linked to leukemia and nasopharyngeal cancer. This chemical is found in nail polishes, nail hardeners, and disinfectants. 

When you first walk into the salon, the chemical you smell comes from volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds sadly evaporate very quickly and have been linked to issues such as headaches and irritation of the eyes, skin, and throat: difficulty breathing, pregnancy complications, and cancer. 

Along with harsh UV light rays when you dry your nails under the lamp. Not all nails are done this way, but many are. These lamps can cause skin damage and eventually could lead to skin cancer. 

So how do we reduce these risks when getting our nails done?

For starters, add SPF 15 or higher to your hands and fingers before entering the salon or skipping the lamp overall. Having your nails removed properly, taking higher cation, and considering what you are breathing and putting on your nails at the salon.


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