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Melanoma Risk from Manicures?

Topics: UV exposure, dermatology, melanoma, skin cancer,

The GW Medical Faculty Associates: Melanoma Risk from Manicures?

We often hear that avoiding the sun’s UV rays is the best protection against skin cancer, especially when it comes to melanoma which can spread rapidly and can be fatal. But did you know the ultraviolet light from some nail salon dryers carries a risk of cancer? 

A recent study found that just eight sessions under the UV dryer lamp could be enough to cause DNA damage to the skin – which is the main culprit of skin cancer.  That means the UV light exposure during weekly manicures, with a typical nail drying time of 10 minutes, can quickly add up to an increased risk.

While the risk of cancer is increased with the use of UV lamps, the actual probability of developing cancer might be relatively small. Nevertheless, experts recommend using sunscreens and UVA protective gloves to limit exposure and reduce photo aging of the hands.  Fan-drying, without UV light exposure is a safer option for traditional nail polish wearers. Those who need to use UV light for gel nail polish should ask their manicurist to apply sunscreen as part of the salon’s hand massage, instead of using just a basic lotion.

If you have any concerns or questions about skin health and would like to see a dermatologist, our Bethesda office at 4920 Elm Street is now accepting patients.  Just call 240.483.0555 to schedule an appointment.