UV Lamps at the Nail Salon May Increase Cancer Risk: How to Protect Yourself

Augusta Falletta
uv lamp at nail salon

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While it may not be news that the UV lamps used at many nail salons may increase your risk of developing skin cancer, a new study found varying levels of UV emission from the lamps, which is making us sit up and pay attention. Conducted by researchers at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, the study tested a random sampling of 17 different kinds of UV lamps (like the kind used at nail salons) and found that there’s a wide variation in the amount of UVA emitted from each lamp, but it’s almost impossible to tell how much UVA will be emitted from a certain lamp at a nail salon until you’re using it.

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So, what does that mean for ladies who go to the nail salon regularly? While the amount of UVA rays emitted from a single stint under the lamps won’t put you at a higher risk for developing cancer, the researchers estimate that regular use of the lamps — 8-14 visits over 12-24 months — can reach the threshold of DNA damage to the skin. Simply put, if you regularly go to the nail salon and dry your nails under UV lamps, you may be putting yourself at risk to develop skin cancer.

For those of you who are set on getting your nails done rather than painting at home, there are precautions you can take. Consider the UV lamps the same way you would consider going to sit on the beach all day long. You wear sunscreen, right? Instead of having the regular lotion and massage part of the manicure, bring your own sunscreen and have the nail technician use lotion with SPF instead of the lotion the salon usually applies. This way, you’ll be protecting yourself against harmful rays without having to skip your regular manicure. Win-win.

[NY Times]