Aside from the lights, these manicures involve a lot of different chemicals — gel in particular. Gel exposes you to many of the same toxins as acrylic nails. Research Scientist at Cancer Prevention Institute of California, Tu Quach, Ph.D. MPH warns, “Of great concern are the acrylates, which are individual chemical molecules (or monomers) that bind together (in a process called polymerization) to form plastic materials. Acrylates can cause allergic and irritant reactions.” All of the acetone your fingers soak up in the removal process isn’t great either.