We know that ultraviolet light from the sun or a tanning bed can increase skin cancer risk.
But what about UV light from the lamps used to dry your nails at the salon?
A recent study found that UV nail dryers can lead to DNA damage and cell mutations.
“Research shows ultraviolet light from UV nail dryers can cause DNA damage in the cells, just like ultraviolet light from the sun,” explained Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist for Cleveland Clinic. “What we don’t yet know is how that translates into individual people and potential skin cancer risk.”
Although more research is needed, there are some precautions you can take when using UV nail dryers after a gel manicure.
Piliang, who did not take part in the study, recommends applying sunscreen to your hands about 20 minutes before a nail appointment.
She said to use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30.
You can also wear UV protection gloves, which are made from a UV-resistant material and have holes at the fingertips for your nails.
Taking measures to protect your hands from skin cancer can also help prevent premature aging.
Above all, Dr. Piliang said it’s best to limit your exposure to UV nail dryers.
“If you’re somebody who goes to get a gel manicure for a special occasion, you’re probably OK,” she said. “But if you’re somebody who goes religiously every two weeks to get these gel manicures, you’re probably increasing your risk of skin cancer on your hands.”
Piliang added it’s important for everyone to do regular skin checks and bring up anything suspicious to a dermatologist.