Will the UV Light at Your Nail Salon Give You Skin Cancer?

Posted on March 6, 2012

The Washington Post has a disturbing article about how the UV lamps at nail salons can cause skin cancer. Some salons use the UV lamps on everyone for a few minutes after a manicure or pedicure to help the polish dry faster. But for long-lasting gel manicures, the UV lamp exposure is part of the procedure and is necessary for the polish to dry properly.

The Food and Drug Administration does regulate UV nail lamps because they do emit radiation and they an electronic product. This category of devices includes mammogram machines, airport security devices and microwave ovens. But the FDA hasn't issued any warnings yet.

An article in the Archives of Dermatology (you can see the extract with photos here) discusses the cases of two women who got skin cancer after using the UV machines. One woman used the nail light machines twice a month for 15 years. She ended up with Squamous cell carcinoma that required several invasive (Moh's) surgeries on her hand. Another woman used the machines 8 times in one year and ended up with multiple Squamos cell carcinomas that developed one after the other. She also required Moh's surgery. Both women were middle-aged, white, with no major sun exposure history and no history of skin cancer in the family.

Well, that's enough for us. No UV lights -- ever. It's a really small sample, but with skin cancer, why take the risk?
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