Are UV Nail Lamps A Cancer Risk?

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Gel manicures have become very popular in the last few years as a way to maintain a flawless manicure longer and without chipping. But are those UV-emitting nail lamps (used to seal the gel polish to the nail) also dangerous?

According to a statement released by The Skin Cancer Foundation earlier this month, the lamps used to dry gel nails may increase the risk of skin cancer.

Elizabeth K. Hale, the Vice President of The Skin Cancer Foundation, said the risk is greatest for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common skin cancer.

“SCC is mainly caused by chronic UV exposure and is very common on the hands and around the fingernails,” Hale said.

The chance of getting skin cancer from UV nail lamps is significantly lower than from tanning beds. According to a 2012 study, UV lamps are highly unlikely to cause skin cancer -- even if they're used weekly for 250 years.

Nonetheless, the Skin Cancer Foundation's latest warning seems to suggest that even minimal UV exposure can be carcinogenic.

"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."

So what's a manicure-obsessed girl to do? Stick to regular manicures or choose an LED service, which uses safe, light emitting diode lights rather than UV light to seal your polish. If you absolutely can't live without your gel manicure, be sure to apply an SPF 15 sunscreen or higher on your hands prior to your manicure appointment.

What do you think? Are you worried about the risks associated with gel manicures?

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