Research Letter Examines UV Nail Salon Lamps, Risk of Skin Cancer

Bottom Line: Using higher-wattage ultra violet (UV) lamps at nail salons to dry and cure polish was associated with more UV-A radiation being emitted, but the brief exposure after a manicure would require multiple visits for potential DNA damage and the risk for cancer remains small.

Author: Lyndsay R. Shipp, M.D., of Georgia Regents University, Augusta, and colleagues.

Background: The use of lamps that emit UV radiation in nail salons has raised some concern about the risk of cancer, but previous studies have lacked a sampling of lights from salons.

How the Study Was Conducted: The authors tested 17 light units from 16 salons with a wide range of bulbs, wattage and irradiance emitted by each device for their research letter.

Results: Higher-wattage light sources were correlated with higher UV-A irradiance emitted.

Discussion: “Our data suggest that, even with numerous exposures, the risk for carcinogensis, remains small. That said, we concur with previous authors in recommending use of physical blocking sunscreens or UV-A protective gloves to limit the risk of carcinogenesis and photoaging.”

(JAMA Dermatology. Published online April 30, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.8740.

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