Monday, March 5, 2012

Manicures and UV Risk

Millions of women visit nail salons to have their nails shaped, buffed, and polished every year. Most walk out with beautiful nails, but there are those who unfortunately develop nail fungus, rashes, and bacterial infections related to unlicensed technicians or poorly sanitized tools. It appears now that manicures may pose an additional threat related to exposure from UV nail lights.

The UV nail lights often used at salons to dry and cure regular and gel manicures are essentially mini tanning beds. I understand they harden polish and cut drying times considerably, but like full-sized tanning beds, they emit mostly UVA rays, the strongest most penetrating ultra-violet rays. And according to studies, they emit similar amounts of UV radiation per square inch. For women getting multiple manicures a year, this is considerable exposure.

The Food and Drug Administration has not released a statement about UV nail lamps, but regulates them as a radiation-emitting electronic product. One study described the cases of two healthy middle aged women with no risk factors who developed non-melanoma skin cancers on their hands. More studies are needed, but until then I recommend reducing your exposure.

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