Why it could be handy to take off your nail polish before bed otherwise, discovers SARAH VINE, there could be some painful consequences!


PUBLISHED: 22:15 GMT, 17 February 2019 |

  • Sarah Vine met expert pedicurist to the starts Bastien Gonzales in London
  • He says nail polish should be treated like make-up and worn on special occasions
  • UV lamps which are used to dry the nails can as much damage as sunbeds 

How long do you keep your make-up on?’ asks Bastien Gonzales, fixing me with his rather beautiful chocolate brown eyes.

‘Er, a few hours?’ I say. ‘Precisely,’ he sighs, returning his attention to my big toe. ‘So please tell me, why is it that women wear nail polish for weeks on end. It is make-up for the nails. It should be only for special occasions.’

I must confess I have never thought of it this way. Like millions of women, I am a convert to long-wear gel nail polish, the kind of high-shine stuff that lasts for weeks and has to be melted off with acetone, tin foil and elbow grease.

The kind you can get in nail bars across Britain, that has, in a fundamental way, transformed the way most women look.

Like all things that are easy and convenient, one tends to ignore the downsides. Gel nails are the manicure equivalent of ready meals: quick, convenient, tasty-looking, but not exactly good for you.

It’s not just the fact that they dry under UV light — at best ageing, at worst cancer-causing — it’s also that they contain an array of potentially harmful ingredients.

There have been questions about the toxicity of gel nails ever since they became ubiquitous a few years ago. The UV lamps which are used to dry the nails can, say some experts, cause as much damage as sunbeds — in fact there have been several documented diagnoses of skin cancer on the hands of frequent users.

Added to that is the potential for infection as a result of keeping product on the nail for extended periods of time and the fact that the removal process contributes to a thinning of the nail and, if done badly, can also damage the nail bed…

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