An updated manicure may make you feel beautiful and more confident, but the price of that fresh set of nails may be more than you're willing to pay. According to new research, the dryers that nail salons use to speed up drying time and harden the polishes and gels used in the manicure can increase the risk of skin cancer
Nail salon lamps emit ultraviolet light, which contains radiation. Levels vary according to the type of dryer and the manufacturer. However, the study from Georgia Regents University found that as little as eight visits to the nail salon increased the risk for skin damage, including cancer.
The light used in these dryers is the same as used in tanning beds, and research has already shown that tanning can increase the risk of skin cancer. The study sampled the light found in 17 different lamps to determine the level of radiation being emitted. The amount varied from one joule per centimeter squared to eight joules. The amount was emitted during eight minutes of time under the dryer. Lead study author classified the amount of exposure as ranging from "barely" to "significant."
Though doctors agree that at least 60 joules per centimeter squared is typically required to cause skin damage, the study authors noted that the cumulative effects from the nail dryers could lead to the same results. Ultimately, the study authors said that though the dryers present a risk, it is a low one.
If you are concerned about the use of nail dryers, you can wear sunscreen on your hands before getting your manicure. A dermatologist can give you more feedback about how to protect your skin. Seeing a dermatologist for regular skin screenings can also help you to detect any issues early and to get the treatment you need right away.
Use our Find A Doc feature to find a dermatologist in your area for further consultation.