Nail salons offer a variety of services that can help you keep your hands and feet looking beautiful. From manicures to pedicures, there are many options available for those looking to spruce up their nails. However, some of these treatments may come with some potential health risks that should not be overlooked.
Gel Manicures and UV Nail Dryers
Gel manicures have become increasingly popular in recent years as they offer a longer-lasting, glossy finish compared to traditional nail polish. One of the key components of a gel manicure is the use of a UV nail dryer to cure the polish.
The UV nail dryer works by emitting ultraviolet (UV) light to harden the polish, making it last for several weeks without chipping or peeling. While these UV nail dryers can help create a perfect manicure, there are some concerns about the safety of the UV radiation they emit.
A recent study published in Nature Communications found that UV nail dryers can cause DNA damage and permanent mutations in mouse, human, and human skin cells.
UV Radiation and Skin Cancer
UV radiation is a type of light that is emitted by the sun and other sources, such as UV nail dryers. This radiation is known to cause damage to our skin, and it significantly increases your risk of skin cancer. That’s why wearing sunscreen is so important—it substantially reduces your exposure to cancer-causing UV radiation.
When UV radiation penetrates the skin, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are formed as metabolic byproducts. ROS are highly reactive molecules that cause damage to DNA, proteins, and other cellular structures.
The Impact on Your Nails
While the risks of UV radiation exposure are well known, little has been studied about the impact of UV nail dryers on your nails.
The recent study published in Nature Communications found a dose-dependent increase in reactive oxygen species and cell mutations. In other words, the more you use UV nail dryers, the higher your risk of developing skin cancer.
Protecting Yourself at the Nail Salon
The best way to reduce your risks from UV nail dryers is to limit your exposure as much as possible.
This can be as simple as choosing a nail polish that doesn’t require UV treatment.
If you do decide to get something that involves UV nail drying, it may be helpful to apply sunscreen on your hands before your manicure. However, there is not conclusive evidence that this will provide complete protection, as the skin around your nail beds may still be susceptible.