5 Things You Need To Know About Nail Lamp Safety

Giorgio Trovato Gb6gti Tzkb8 Unsplash
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

The industry has been abuzz lately with talk of nail lamp safety, after research came out from the journal Nature Communications suggesting that UV nail dryers used to cure gel manicures damaged DNA in cells and led to cell mutations that may increase the risk for skin cancer. You may have seen some concerned clients, or had concerns yourself, so prepare yourself with the following things you need to know.

1. UV Nail Dryers are FDA Approved

UV nail dryers used in salons have been deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and are designated as low risk when used as directed.

2. UV From Nail Lamps Is Minimal

Yes, the same UVA radiation emitted from from the sun is emitted from UV nail dryers. However, the exposure to UVA from a nail dryer for 30 or 60 seconds is very minimal. You have greater exposure to UVA going outside.

According to a press release published by the Nail Manufacturers Council (NMC) of the Professional Beauty Association, "One would need 250 years of weekly nail sessions to equal the theoretical (and low) risk of a single UV light treatment for certain skin conditions such as psoriasis--concluding that “it is highly improbable that any salon customer, no matter the level of nail lamp use, will exceed safe levels of UV exposure.”

3. UV Protection is Always Recommended

Dermatologists and skin care professionals recommend protection when exposed to any UV light source, including UV nail dryers. For an client that may be concerned with UV exposure, recommend that they apply a physical sunscreen before their gel nails are cured. Also, there are manicure gloves that can be purchase for wear during gel manicures. In addition, anyone with a skin condition or taking medication that sensitizes them to UV exposure should opt for a traditional manicure.

4. The Research Is Not Conclusive.

The research is just that, and should not be taken at face value. The lead researcher noted that a large scale, long-term epidemiological study must be completed before drawing any conclusions.

The study also was conducted on human and mice cells, not on human skin. Human skin has multiple layers for added protection against outside aggressors such as UV light. In addition, the study exposed cells to consecutive 20 minutes under a UV lamp, and then 3 consecutive 20 minute sessions to result in the cell deal, or 20 and 60 times the normal exposure of any client in one sitting.

5. There Is A History Of Safety

For the 20 years that UV nail dryers have been around, they have been used safely. In the NMC press release, safety co-chair Doug Schoon notes “The Journal of Investigative Dermatology concludes that UV nail lamps are safe and do not cause, or increase the risk of, cancer. In fact, there are no peer-reviewed studies that show an association between human skin cancer and gel nail lamps.”

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