With the growing popularity over social media, gel manicures have become a popular choice over the traditional air-dry polish for their creative possibilities and long-lasting appearance. But what about the potential harm coming from the UV light used to cure polish to the nail?

Can UV lights at the nail salon be harmful enough to threaten skin cancer?
The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology produced results from a year of testing salon quality UV lamps and the effects of high-intensity UV exposure to human skin. The results showed that “in less than 10 minutes, a person’s hands receive an energy dose equivalent to the day-long recommended limit for outdoor workers.” (JAAD, 2013)

This information found from an article posted on the JAAD website goes on to present the data discovered in the testing research. In addition to the elevated risk of skin cancer, there are other harmful effects of UV exposure including the aging appearance of skin. As humans, we perceive aging with the appearance of photo damage in skin. Photo damage can be seen as wrinkles, brown spots, tough skin, discoloration, etc.

According to the JAAD, “the increased depth of penetration of UVA wavelengths of radiation is responsible for the majority of photoaging in human skin and long-term exposure to UV nail lamps may have the potential to increase both cancer risk and photoaging.” (JAAD, 2013)

Does this mean we can no longer feel safe getting that Pinterest-worthy manicure?
Well, the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology states, “we recommend that people who choose this acrylic nail treatment apply full spectrum sun block to their hands 30 minutes before their appointment.” (JAAD, 2013) With many beauty routines a risk is involved. However, by taking necessary precautions prior to exposure of UV light, such as a broad- spectrum sunscreen and UV blocking fingerless gloves, you should be able to enjoy your salon visits more than ever with the comfort of knowing you are at less of a risk of damaging those beautiful hands!

Works Cited
JAAD. (2013). Acrylic nail curing UV lamps: High-intensity exposure warrants further research of skin cancer risk. Retrieved from Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(13)00906-7/fulltext