How UV Lights Dry Nails

Take precautions and you'll be fine with UV lights.
Take precautions and you'll be fine with UV lights.

In your secret fantasies, your nails never chip or fade, but real life isn't like that -- or is it? One of the latest innovations in the nail enhancement industry is the UV gel manicure. If you haven't had one yet, this advancement in nail polish technology actually lives up to the hype. If you want shimmering nails that have that still-wet sheen days and even weeks after your manicure, read on.

Instead of sitting in front of an oscillating mini-fan waiting for your nails to dry between coats (and coughing delicately from all the nail dust), a gel polish treatment uses ultraviolet (UV) light to dry nails fast. Spending an afternoon having your nails tortured into submission with a file, buffer and cuticle stick only to ruin your fresh manicure reaching for your keys is a thing of the past with gel nails.

The gel medium reacts to UV light by creating a super hard finish, too. Instead of going a week to 10 days without chipping, you can get up to three weeks of useful life from a UV gel nail manicure. Actually, your gel nails may never chip, crack or peel. They could actually grow out enough to need a touch up without showing any signs of wear. That's pretty amazing.

If this sounds too good to be true, you're justified in being concerned -- a little, anyway. Let's take a closer look to see how safe gel nails really are.