A friend of a woman who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, is warning others about what she believes are the dangers of gel manicures. 

Lauren Heimer’s best friend was diagnosed with melanoma on her thumb, which she believes is linked to her regular visits to the nail shop. 

Prior to her diagnosis I hadn’t put too much thought into the dangers of the UV light so close to the fingernails, especially with some new chemical compound on them,” she wrote. 

The photo shows her best friend’s thumbnail, which has now been removed. Lauren described the melanoma as ‘not a huge lump, scare or scab’ just ‘something you might not even glance twice at.’ 

After discovering the discolouration on her thumbnail, Lauren’s best friend seeked the advice of a dermatologist, who informed her it was a rare form of cancer. Lauren’s warning others to be vigilant.

‘Please be cautious when getting gel’s and consider that there are these types of risks,’ she wrote. 

Lauren said she’s only ever had a gel manicure done twice and stopped because she got freaked out after her hands became sunburnt. Now, she’s pledging never to have one again. 


The photo has prompted many women to declare they’re also steering away from gel manicures, after the photo was shared around a number of beauty forums.

But experts have warned people to be aware, but not alarmed. 

“This is nothing new and is something that all nail technicians should know about. The nail bed often develops dark stripes like this, they are fairly common in those of African descent and not unusual for those of Asian descent,’ Internationally-recognised scientist and Co-Chair of the Nail manufacturers Council, Doug Schoon. 

‘These stripes occur when nail matrix cells begin to produce melanin, which is more common in those with darker skin,” he continued.

The Skin Cancer Foundation confirmed the lamps used in nail salons do emit UV radiation, but said the level is much safer than that found in UV tanning devices. 

They recommend applying sunscreen 20 minutes before getting a gel manicure. 

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