UV nail dryers have been around for years, and there’s been speculation around their emissions. What new insights can we glean from this particular study?
We already knew there were case reports of people who had gel manicures with UV dryers and developed skin cancers, specifically squamous cell cancers. But we don’t know for sure if the UV dryers were responsible.
There have been studies looking at the emissions from UV dryers, and some of them showed that they emitted dangerously high levels of UV radiation.
In this study, cell lines were directly radiated with UVA light from a gel curing device, and the cells developed DNA damage. When there’s DNA damage, cells may start to proliferate out of control because they’re not responding correctly to normal signals in the cell cycle.
This study reinforced our concerns and underscores that we need to educate the public about how to either avoid these dryers or use them safely.
If you choose to avoid gel applications, what are some alternative options?
Alternatives would be using regular nail polish or trying pigmented dip powders for your manicures. Both of those do not require using that light.
If you choose to get a gel manicure or pedicure, are there precautions you should take?
Protect your skin and apply broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 or higher. For manicures, you could wear gloves with cutouts. I would also recommend people have a skin exam by a board-certified dermatologist once a year. And if someone sees anything unusual on their skin, they should go to a board-certified dermatologist promptly.
What unusual markers should a person look out for?
Squamous cell carcinomas may present as a little grain of sand on the skin to start. It could be a little rough spot. It could be a red patch with scale or a crusty bump. Keep in mind that on light skin it could have more of a pink-red appearance. On dark skin, it could have a darker appearance.
If you have a lesion that doesn’t go away, get it checked out.