Are UV Nail Lamps Really Linked To Skin Cancer? Here Are The Facts

Is it scaremongering, or should we be letting our nails air dry?

The theory that the LED lamps used to set your gel/shellac nails can cause skin cancer has been circulating for a few years now. Some medical professionals have claimed that, as these lamps emit UV radiation, they can be linked to both premature skin ageing and skin cancer, and we should be taking caution when making our monthly trips to the nail salon.

So is this a myth or should we be opting for an air-dried manicure? We’ve weighed up the opinions.

UV treatments are often used on people with the skin condition psoriasis. A 2012 study, which calculated the “UV dose” a person would receive during a ten minute nail drying session, concluded that an individual would have to have about 250 years of nail drying sessions before they would receive the same UV dose as a person with psoriasis.

The study said that this amount of UV exposure raises the risk of skin cancer only minimally, compared with the more damaging rays of sun bed lamps. The study ultimately concluded that the lamps used to set your nails are safe.

Source: Amazon

Despite this, the American Skin Cancer Foundation released a press release about a year later saying that although even the most intense of the devices present only a moderate UV risk – much lower than sun beds – they recommend applying a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sun cream to hands 20 minutes prior to UV light exposure. As an alternative to this, you could allow nails to air-dry naturally, avoiding the drying lamps altogether.

Earlier this week, general practitioner, Dr Brad McKay, spoke to the Australian Today Show about the dangers of UV lights.

His stance on the issue is that as the LED lamps can be purchased online, we can’t be sure how strong their UV radiation is. He concludes that “although the risk is going to be pretty small, if you’re going back every week or having multiple treatments, that UV light exposure can accumulate over time”.

Will this info make you question how often you have your nails done?


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