Study: UV lamp dangers during manicures

Dr. Sapna Parikh reports on UV lights used in nail salons and whether they can cause cancer. (WABC)
May 3, 2014 6:48:32 AM PDT
There's no doubt gel manicures give you perfectly polished nails. But the ultraviolet light used to dry and cure the polish has come under scrutiny, does it raise the risk of skin cancer?

A small new study published in the journal of the American Medical Association compares 17 UV lamps from commercial salons.

The researchers wanted to know how many trips to the nail salon it would take to potentially raise your risk of cancer?

On average, they found it takes about 12 manicures to the reach the level of ultraviolet exposure known to damage DNA.

But there was a huge variation in the lamps (for one it took only 8 visits to cause damage, for another 208) some emit more UV light, others much less.

But the research confirms the overall risk of skin cancer is low so how worried should you be?

If you're someone who goes to the salon every week and gets a gel manicure or another treatment using a UV light, then for you a little UV protection might be worth it.

You can try UV blocking manicure gloves or just throw some sunscreen in your purse.

"If you put sunscreen on your way into the salon it's all going to come off when they do the manicure and wash your hands, but if you maybe take some with you and maybe ask your manicurist to put the sunscreen on for you at the end of the manicure then you would be protected under the light," said Dr. Melissa Piliang a dermatologist, Cleveland Clinic.

Your hands will also be protected from premature aging and wrinkles.