Are gel polish manicures safe?

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Going to the nail salon is big business -- a $7.4 billion industry. But there are concerns the type of manicure that's all the rage right now could be dangerous.

Gel polish manicures last way longer than regular manicures, usually two to three weeks, and the polish is much less likely to chip or break. The concern comes in about the UV lamps that dry the polish. Dermatologists say those same UV lights are what causes premature aging in tanning beds.

Researchers from the Medical College of Georgia studied the impact those hand drying lamps have on skin. The study showed that 11 times over two years was enough for the skin to show signs of skin damage.

Doctors recommend limiting gel polish manicures to four times a year and wearing sunscreen during the curing process.

Sheila Williams grew up in the beauty biz. Her mother and aunt own two salons, one in New Jersey and one in Graham. Williams says she earned her license to do nails back in 2000, but didn't start working in the field until a few years ago. "I just did something else, because I wanted to have a more natural way of doing nails."

Williams now tends to regular clients at Buff's Natural Nail Bar in Greensboro. "I just really enjoy what I do and the products we're using."

If you're a big fan of the gel polish manicures, dermatologists say to do them only four times a year and to wear sunscreen on your hands and sunglasses over your eyes.