Skin Cancer Foundation’s Official Position on UV Light and Manicure Safety
New York, NY (UPDATED September 1, 2015) – Ultraviolet radiation-emitting nail lamps have become a regular part of most trips to the nail salon, causing many patrons to question manicure safety. These lamps are typically used to speed-dry regular manicures, and they are actually necessary to set gel manicures.
UV Nail Lamps
Some nail lamps are called “UV” lamps, and some are called LED lamps, but both emit UV radiation. They predominantly produce UVA rays, which have been linked to both premature skin aging and skin cancer. However, even the most intense of these devices presents only a moderate UV risk – a far lower risk than that presented by UV tanning devices.
To play it safe with gel manicures, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen to hands 20 minutes prior to UV light exposure. If getting a regular manicure, the safest bet is to allow nails to air-dry naturally, avoiding the drying lamps altogether. Remember, all nail lamps produce UV radiation.
–Skin Cancer Foundation Senior Vice President Elizabeth K. Hale, MD