Every time I see a suggestion from Dr. Oz, I just can’t seem to take it seriously, because from what I’ve seen in my own experience, he is more of a tv host trying to stir up trouble and get material, than a doctor. I also don’t take any of his guests seriously, and from what I’ve seen, they joined his advisory board purely for publicity, and not to further the medical field. After watching a segment on how gel nail polish is harmful, the only conclusion I’ve come to is that TV doctors are just trying to scare us and get viewers.
I heard about this segment a few years ago, but today I received two spam emails with Dr. Oz in the subject line, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about claimsmaking, and how we have to be effective consumers of all research.
Here is a perfect example of claimsmaking by gel manicures, with links, so we can all get the doctor more views.
What is a gel manicure? Gel manicures use a specific type of nail polish that sits under a UV or LED light to “cure” each layer, so they are completely dry when they are done. To remove it, techs use acetone and sometimes a metal implement.
Why do Dr. Oz and his dermatologist say they are bad?
- UV dryer
- Damage in removal
This is what happens in the segment: Dr. Oz and guest star, Dr. Chapas buy 3 ladies gel manicures and they come in and talk about the dangers above.
Why each point doesn’t make sense:
- UV damage. Dr. Oz and his special guest took pictures of the UV light damage on hands, for the 3 gel manicure recipients. They asked them what they thought about the UV damage found on their hands.
Guest: “To be honest with you, born and raised in Florida my whole life, I think that’s part of it.”
Dr. Oz: “Okay, let’s now move on…”
- The removal process is bad. Doctors say that Acetone thins nails—which makes sense, but click to Part Two, and you can see a giant finger being scraped at to remove the gel polish, and the crowd gasps! They say that techs scrape the top part of the nail off, and then infections get in at the cuticle, that isn’t even being scraped. If the gel has grown out there is no reason to scrape up the cuticle.
- Infections can happen. The staph infection mentioned in the video is not from removing polish, but from cutting into the cuticle, which shouldn’t happen even in a regular manicure, so this third point really doesn’t even count for gel manicures, they just had to fill some time (this is really number two in disguise). Cuticle pushers shouldn’t open the skin at all, because they are a blunt object. He asks , “See this little cut down here?” so he is deliberately cutting into the cuticle, the part of the nail that doesn’t even have polish on it.
The ugly truth about gel manicures is that people are trying to scare you so you keep watching their show.
They end the segment by telling you to wear gloves or sunscreen, and the Derm says that she will not get a gel manicure. If this was my Dermatologist, after this segment I would now fear and question her advice. She is a very intelligent woman, but I question her judgement when it comes to TV, and won’t be taking her advice on gel manicures, when I’m sure it’s sound for other subjects.
We call this act of fear, “claimsmaking”, and we need to learn not to take advice, especially medical, from people when there is television publicity and claimsmaking involved.
As a research consumer, feel free to do your own research at any time, and if you see a segment with the audience gasping in fear, know that it could be a producer trying to appeal to your emotions and sway you from the truth. Know what to look for, and be responsible as a consumer of research in a digital age.
The sad part about this segment is that nail technicians are providing manicures to earn a living, and not only did this segment scare manicure recipients, it also thinned out the appointment books for honest workers, because the risks were inflamed, and people will often take Dr. Oz’s word, because he is a well-known household name.
I hope this posts helps you think about how you choose to receive the information being thrown at you, and that you won’t be afraid to do your own digging into an issue, especially when there is fear involved.
Romarin Demetri is a Licensed Cosmetologist, author, and among other things, a consumer of research.