The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Position Regarding UVR-Emitting Nail Lamps March 07 2013, 0 Comments

By Elizabeth K. Hale MD Vice President The Skin Cancer Foundation

New York, NY (March 7, 2013) - Research has shown that ultraviolet (UV) radiation-emitting devices are carcinogenic to humans. Although studies have shown that the skin cancer risk associated with UVR-emitting nail lamps for gel manicures is very low, it is not insignificant*. The risk, according to anecdotal research, is greatest for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common skin cancer. An estimated 700,000 cases of SCC are diagnosed each year in the US, resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths. SCC is mainly caused by chronic UV exposure and is very common on the hands and around the fingernails. If you must get a UV-gel manicure, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying sunscreen to your hands beforehand. You can protect your hands from skin cancer, as well as wrinkles, brown spots and other signs of aging, by applying a moisturizing sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to your hands at least every two hours throughout the day.

Elizabeth K. Hale, MD
Vice President, The Skin Cancer Foundation

* Typically, UVR-emitting nail lamps are used to set gel manicures. Some nail lamps emit LED light, which is not dangerous. If you are not sure which type of nail lamp your salon uses, ask your nail technician. You can play it safe by letting your nails air dry naturally, or using a nail dryer with a fan (without the light component).