Science and Tech


Could Drying Your Nails At The Salon Give You Cancer?

Researchers say drying your freshly painted nails with UV drying lamps at the salon could increase your risk of skin cancer — but not by much.
Posted at 2:16 PM, May 01, 2014

Getting a manicure can be a relaxing way to pamper yourself. But a new study says using a salon's nail dryer afterward could be dangerous. (Via Flickr / Romina Campos)

"You know the UV lamps that you use at the nail salon when you go to dry your nails? Those could raise the risk of getting skin cancer, according to researchers." ​(Via HLN)

After studying several different types of UV lamps, researchers from Georgia Regents University in Augusta found the lights can cause some skin damage in as few as eight visits to the salon. (Via YouTube / Hagay barak)

To determine just how much ultraviolet radiation is emitted when clients use the lamps to dry their nails, the team tested 17 UV drying lamps with varying levels of intensity, according to Health Day News. The lamps came from 16 salons.

The researchers reported "notable differences" in the amount of UV light emitted by each device. They also noticed the amount of exposure to the hands varied depending on how the lamp was positioned. (Via JAMA Dermatology)

Depending on the type of drying lamp and the amount of exposure time, the team found they have the potential to cause some scary skin damage. But don't go cancelling your manicure just yet.

The study's lead author told Fox News the probability of getting cancer from UV drying lamps is very low, unless you're a manicure fanatic or work in a salon. "I wouldn’t tell a patient to stop going unless they were going multiple times a month."

And as The New York Times notes, most doctors already agree you're very unlikely to develop skin cancer from these devices.

Even though the risk is low, the study's authors suggest putting on sunscreen before going under the dryer to prevent any potential damage. The study was published April 30 in the journal JAMA Dermatology.