Is it safe to get gel nails while pregnant?
When I became pregnant with my first baby, I suddenly had to stop and think about all of the beauty and personal care products that I was using.
Were they safe to use now that I was pregnant? And if not, had they even been safe for me to use beforehand?
It was pretty stressful to go through every little thing. I mean even deodorant was questionable, like come on!
So I went over my entire skin care routine with my doctor and after bringing long lists of products and ingredients to every appointment, I ended up getting kind of embarrassed about having SO many questions about beauty products.
By the time I got to considering nail polish, I had only done a little research and just figured I would not do my nails and not worry about it.
But I really missed having fun manicures after a few months of bare nails, so I dug in and spent some more time looking to see if there was a product that I felt good about using while pregnant. If I was going to buy something, I definitely wanted it to be gel so my manicures would actually last a long time and I wasn’t sure if I was going to find something that I could trust.
What are the risks of getting a gel manicure anyways?
Some gel polish formulas can be toxic
It used to be common for gel polish to be made with all sorts of toxic ingredients. Some can be bad for you, but some can also be very bad for your baby.
Bibutyl Phthalate (DBP) is used in nail polish to minimize chipping. Pthalates are classified as endocrine disruptors and mimic estrogen in your body. And what’s terrifying is that they have been proven to cause defects with the hormonal development of male fetuses.
Toluene is used to create a smooth finish and smells kind of like paint thinner. The fumes are super toxic and can cause all kinds of problems in your own body, including neurological damage and hearing loss. Even worse, it may result in birth defects when inhaled too frequently by a pregnant woman.
And then there is Formaldehyde, which is used to harden nail polish. It’s not typically a problem at very low levels, but with repeated exposure, either through the air or the skin, it can cause abnormal fetal development.
Risk of infection from a salon
Any licensed salon or nail technician should be trained in proper sterilization of their tools so they don’t pass infections from one client to another. But it’s still possible to end up with an infection and you just never know who else was in that salon right before you.
My friend’s daughter got an infection from getting a pedicure and it was even a high-end salon. She actually ended up having to have surgery to correct some of the damage.
In all reality, I think the risk is fairly small, so I generally wouldn’t let that deter me from going to a salon. After all, giving yourself a pedicure just is NOT the same.
But when I’m pregnant, I’m not willing to risk even that small chance of infection when it’s something that’s easily avoidable. So I would much rather just do my own gel nails at home.
UV exposure from lamps
I hear people all the time talk about how the UV lamps can cause skin cancer and so on.
Now, I am not an esthetician, nail tech, or an expert in UV rays or cancer, but I have a hard time believing that a nail lamp would be that much more damaging than going outside a few times a day.
I’ll admit that I don’t know that much about the actual cancer risk of UV lamps. But if you’re worried about it, the solution is simple. Just use an LED lamp instead!
LED lamps still do emit a tiny amount of UV light, but it is way less.
Can a pedicure make you go into labor??
It’s most likely an old wives tale, but a lot of women will swear that getting a pedicure finally got labor started when they were near the end of their pregnancy.
Just to be clear, I haven’t been able to find ANY studies confirming or denying that it’s true.
Many people claim that it’s because of reflexology and pressure points. That when certain spots on the ankles are rubbed, then it can kick labor into gear.
Then again, if the women who it “worked” for were near the end of their pregnancy anyways, then maybe it was just a coincidence.
Either way, if you’re pregnant and it’s too soon for your body to be going in to labor, maybe consider skipping the foot/ankle massage part of a pedicure.
How to make sure your gel nails are pregnancy-safe
1. Give yourself a gel manicure at home
This way, you have full control over the polish and tools that you use. And even better….you don’t have to change out of pj pants, or even put pants on in the first place if that’s your kind of thing!
It’s actually really easy to do when you have the right tools. And getting your own gel nails tool will actually save you money in the long run compared to getting manicures at a salon.
2. Use a non-toxic 5-free gel polish
A 5-free polish will NOT include Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, or Camphor.
My favorite non-toxic gel polish is GelMoment, which is also free of lead, latex, gluten and solvents.
3. Use an LED lamp to cure your nails
While I still think the risk of sun damage from an LED lamp is pretty small, why not just use an LED lamp anyways and minimize that risk so you don’t have to worry about it?
All of that boils down to, yes, it definitely is possible to safely get gel nails while you’re pregnant so you don’t have to give up pretty nails! But I highly recommend going the DIY route and just being conscious of what gel polish you are actually using.
Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and pamper yourself while you can (and sleep!!)
Are you currently pregnant? If so, when are you due? Is this your first pregnancy?