UV Nail Lamps: Are They Safe ?
You’ve seen them in your local nail salons. Those little UV lamps that emit blue light and are used to set your long lasting Shellac manicures or gel powder sets. I use them every two weeks for my manicures and I’m always wondering if I’m putting my health at risk. So, I did a little research.
An Austin-based case study reported in 2009 that two women developed non-melanoma skin cancer – cancer that occurs in the outer layer of the skin – on the tops of their hands from exposure to nail lamps. Both women were middle-aged, otherwise healthy, and had no cancer history. This does not prove that UV nail lamps definitely cause skin cancer, however. This was a small study; larger clinical trials will be necessary to determine a link to cancer.
Scientists with CND (Creative Nail Design) offer more reassuring information. It’s important to note this is the same company behind CND Shellac, the manicures that last up to two, good weeks. These manicures require drying with UV lamps.
In 2010, CND scientists found three main points that support the safety of UV lamps:
- UV nail lamps have less UV-B light (cause of sunburn and skin cancer) output than natural sunlight. The amount of UV-B light in ten minute exposure to nail lamps is “the equivalent to an extra 30 seconds in sunlight each day of the two weeks between nail salon appointments.”
- UV nail lamps use special bulbs with internal coatings that filter out most of the UV-B light.
- A client’s hand can receive more exposure to UV light while driving a car than they would receive from UV gel and Shellac™ services. Drying nails in a UV nail lamp is safer than glove-free driving.
So, can UV nail lamps cause cancer? I can’t answer that question because I am not a doctor. Will this prevent me from getting my gel nail polish manicures? No, probably not. I don’t think three to five minutes of light exposure every two weeks will do me any harm. But equip yourself with the right information and the right research to make an informed decision on your own. If you are really concerned, ask your dermatologist.