For many of us, getting a manicure is a regular part of our beauty routine, and pedicures are summer must-haves.

When it comes to pampering your hands, options run the gamut from organic manicures (which don’t include polish but a luxurious spa treatment), to gel and shellac mani-pedis that are glossy, long-lasting and anti-chip for special occasions and vacations; however, the American Dermatology Association reports those might cause problems such as brittle, thinning nails and cancer.

Here are four healthy choices to think about before you hit the salon.

  1. BYO Non-toxic Polish

    If you’d like to avoid the risks posed by gel and shellac manicures and the toxic chemicals that find their way into many nail polish brands, look into bringing your own polish labeled “3-free” and “5-free,” meaning they don’t contain harmful chemicals, such as dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde and toluene. Non-toxic polishes include those by Scotch or Zoya, and here’s the Environmental Working Group’s database on non-toxic polishes. Other non-toxic options: high quality nail stickers, easily found at the local pharmacy or soy-based polish remover, such as this one by by Priti NYC.

  2. Beware of Cancer and Dried Out Nails

    If you do get a gel or shellac manicure, be sure to apply sunscreen to your hands before you harden the polish under a UV lamp, which can be up to five times stronger than a tanning bed lamp. Several reports link it to skin cancer. Also, the acetone used to remove the gel or shellac is very drying and can cause your nails to peel.

  3. Seek Polish With UV Protection

    In addition to adding pop to your outfit, nail polish does provide protection from the sun. Subungal (under the skin) melanomas make up 30–40% of all melanomas in non-white people, so for added protection look for a nail polish which offers additional UV protection.

  4. Take a Break to Avoid Breakage

    While there’s no solid evidence against keeping your nails painted all the time, constant acrylic manicures can damage your fingernails and nail matrix, and gel manicures can cause your nails to become weak, brittle and peel. Taking some time off and rocking the natural look is probably worth it compared the amount of time it could take your nails to recover from this sort of damage. Plus, polish can obscure real health problems under the nail, such as fungus or infection.

Now that you have all the information at your fingertips, you can feel confident your next mani-pedi is both beautiful and safe.