Undercover: Manicure nail dangers for kids

Undercover: Manicure nail dangers for kids

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It's all the rage. Shellac nail polish, sometimes called gel polish is gaining popularity because it makes for a longer-lasting manicure. There's no chipping, extra coats and it can last at times up to a month.

It's perfect for those who are on the go and do not have time to reapply polish throughout the week. Cleveland 19 News discovered at least one local salon claiming it's also good for kids. Although it's not illegal to paint shellac on kid's nails, experts say parents should be informed about the potential risks.

Dr. Elma Baron is a professor in dermatology at University Hospitals and Case Western. She says getting that perfect nail polish look could be potentially harmful, damaging your nails, even risking infection. That along with the UV light used to cure the polish can lead to age spots and possibly skin cancer.

"If you're always manipulating nails and you're causing trauma to the nails, that form of trauma can be a portal of entry for bacteria and fungi," says Dr. Baron. Our expert also says "if this is used in children, there might be added dangers because of the accumulation of the risks of ultraviolet light exposure" similar to those in tanning salons.

Cleveland 19 News undercover camera went into a local salon where a salon nail tech was applying a shellac manicure on a 7-year-old. The same tech also tried to talk the customer into a shellac manicure for another child, who was only 4.

Julie Williamson gets shellac on her nails twice a month. She even has several bottles at home. The mother of two says she's never had any issues with the polish.

"I can get a couple weeks out of it and it's not gonna chip and they look nice and it's quick. I can get in and out and not worry about drying," says Williamson. Julie and her 7-year-old daughter Olivia love having their girl time together, and that means getting their nails done. The two have nearly 70 bottles of regular nail polish.

But, this mom says when it comes to her first grader, shellac is a big no-no!

"I just don't feel it's safe. It's not necessary at this age. Little kids don't need it," says Williamson.

Olivia will stick to the regular polish, and mom says stay away from nail techs that suggest shellac is a good thing for kids.

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