Nail Salon Lamps Linked to Skin Cancer Risk

But it takes many uses to damage skin, study finds

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 1, 2014 2:49 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Frequent users of the lamp dryers in nail salons should consider using sunscreen or wearing gloves to minimize the risk of skin cancer, according to a new study. Researchers say the machines, which use ultraviolet light to dry nail polishes, emit enough radiation to cause the kind of skin damage that can lead to cancer, reports the New York Times. Emissions vary so widely between machines, however, that researchers say it can take anywhere between eight and 208 visits before users need to worry about damage.

"I wouldn’t tell a patient to stop going unless they were going multiple times a month," the lead researcher tells Reuters. She says she uses salon lamps every few months herself, and "you can get that amount of exposure when driving down the road in your car." A dermatologist not associated with the study says that while UV nail salon lamps are relatively safe, "the artificial UV devices that are hazardous are tanning beds."

The devices are used to dry and cure nail polish in salons.
The devices are used to dry and cure nail polish in salons.   (Shutterstock)
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