Picking the right color isn’t the only thing you should worry about at the salon: Nail drying lamps may increase your risk of Skin Cancer, according to new research that appeared in the journal JAMA Dermatology.
Previous research has raised concerns that the drying lamps used in nail salons may be carcinogenic—so researchers set out to test just how much UVA irradiance customers may be exposed to They used a UVA/UVB light meter to test the radiation put out by 17 randomly selected nail drying lamps with a range of light source brands, bulb wattages, and number of bulbs per device. Turns out, there was a noticeable difference in the UVA irradiance emitted by the devices—and depending on where you place your hands.
You might not even get the same UVA exposure each time you use the same device. Still, higher bulb wattage was correlated with higher UVA irradiance emitted The good news? Previous work has found that the average UVA irradiance needed to pose a health threat is 60 Joules/cm2—and the most powerful lamp sampled only emitted about eight Joules/cm2. The bad? You could reach the threshold for potential DNA damage in as few as 24 visits, says study author Lyndsay Shipp, M.D Further research is needed to really understand the health effects of nail salons’ drying lamps.
Still—it goes without saying that you’ll want to protect your skin from UVA exposure as much as possible Shipp says you don’t have to skip Manicures entirely but recommends avoiding lamps if you can (and just drying your nails with the fan instead). And if you must use a lamp (like with gel manicures), ask your nail technician to apply sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium oxide before you expose your hands to the light. And of course, to sidestep the issue altogether, you could always give yourself a DIY manicure. These tips will help your color last longer.