Dermatologists say they don’t get gel manicures as research hints UV nail dryers may damage DNA


For more than a decade, researchers. Have suspected that ultraviolet nail dryers used for gel manicures may. Me linked to a higher risk of skin cancer if used regularly. Dryers expose people to ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation. Wich is known to cause skin cancer from other sources such as sun exposure and tanning beds.

A study published last week offers new evidence: it found that UV radiation from nail dryers. Can damage DNA and cause permanent mutations in human cells – linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Such cell damage is “just one step along the path to cancer,” said Dr. Julia Curtis. An assistant professor of dermatology at the University of California. Who was not involved in the new study.

The study didn’t look at actual humans, however: The researchers exposed cells derived from human. And mice to UV light from a nail dryer. They found that after 20 minutes, 20% to 30% of the cells had died. After three consecutive 20-min sessions, 65% to 70% of the cells were dead.

Previous studies have linked a few instances of skin cancer to gel manicures. A 2020 analysis identified two women in the United States who developed melanoma on the back of their. Hands from 2007 to 2016.

Both have had gel manicures for years. Overall, however, the researchers determined that this type of manicure — which involves applying.. A gel polish that must then be set under a UV lamp — had little or no association with cancer.

“At this point, I would recommend or advise people to just weigh the risk,” said Maria Zhivagui. A postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego, one of the authors of the new study. “Understand what it’s doing. There’s damage at the DNA level. We don’t know if it’s carcinogenic.”

He added that scientists need to study the effects of UV nail dryers in real people before drawing firm conclusions about cancer risk. Both Zhivagui and Curtis said the process could take another 10 years due to the slow pace of research.

“UV nail lamps didn’t really become popular until the 2000s, I would say, so it can be very difficult to establish that cause and effect,” Curtis said.

Still, Curtis and Zhivagui said that in their own lives, they’ve never gotten a manicure that required a UV nail dryer.

“You can’t find a dermatologist who doesn’t say UVA is aging us and increasing our risk of skin cancer,” said Dr. Loretta Davis. Chair of the department of dermatology at Augusta University in Georgia. “So doing anything objectively with this type of device will contribute.”

Davis said she doesn’t get manicures but would be concerned about the aging effects of UVA radiation if she did.

The harmful effects of UV rays accumulate over time. And Davis’ own research suggests that the more often people manicure. With UV nail lamps, the greater their risk of damage may be.

Using a UV nail dryer every week is “probably too much,” she said.

“If you’re going to do it before the wedding and you definitely want to feel special,” Davis added. “But to do it regularly, no, I wouldn’t.”

Studies have not yet determined whether there is a safe level of UVA exposur. In the context of manicures or exactly how much health risk it may pose.

Zhivagui’s previous research suggested that exposing acrylic nails to UV light every three weeks for a year. Could produce more intense UVA radiation than exposure to sunlight for that period.

Three dermatologists agreed that wearing fingerless gloves when using a UV nail dryer and applying. Awaterproof, broad-spectrum sunscreen with. t least 50 SPF can offer some protection before a nail appointment.

They also say that people who are elderly, have fair skin or take medications that make them more sensitive to ligh. Such as certain blood pressure medications, should be more careful.

While some people may decide that exposure to UV radiation from gel manicures isn’t worth the gamble, we don’t know how much yet, Davis said.

“People don’t want to find out five years later that they were doing something risky. And they could have taken precautions to protect their hands,” he said.

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