UV nail lamps that are used to dry gel nails could increase the risk of skin cancer according to a recent study. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, found that the lamps can damage DNA, causing skin cells to mutate and turn cancerous.
While the latest news is concerning, long-term studies will need to be carried out to provide conclusive evidence over the safety of these devices. Here’s what we know so far, and why you might want to avoid regular trips to the salon.
Just a 20-minute single session causes DNA damage
One of the most worrying findings of the latest study is that it only takes a single 20-minute session using a UV nail lamp to cause DNA damage. In this short time frame, participants experienced 20% to 30% cell death. When they used the lamp for one 20-minute session across three days consecutively, cell death increased to 65% to 70%.
Even more worryingly, some of the DNA damage that does occur, doesn’t repair itself over time. Each time a UV nail lamp is used, it leads to mutations of the cells.
While these results are worrying, researchers stress that a long-term study now needs to be done before they can conclusively say the devices lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. The risks also tie in with how frequently you visit the salon to get your nails done. For example, if you have them done once a week, using the UV nail lamp for 10 minutes at a time, there may be cause for concern. However, if you only get them done occasionally, the risks would be much lower.
Tanning beds pose higher risk of skin cancer
Very little may currently be known about the increased risk of skin cancer through UV nail lamps, but experts do know tanning beds significantly increase the risk. The American Academy of Dermatology Association claims that indoor tanning can increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by as much as 58%. It also increases the risk of basal cell carcinoma by 24%.
The reason tanning beds are so harmful to the skin is because they put you in extremely close proximity to UV radiation. They produce exactly the same UV rays as the sun, yet you are much more exposed to them than you would be walking outdoors.
Preventing and treating melanoma
If you want to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer, reduce your exposure to harmful UV rays. This includes how often you go to the salon to get a tan, or your nails done. Wearing a good quality SPF skin lotion will also help to reduce the risks. Mr. Smith recommends 50 SPF.
It is also important to monitor changes in your skin, particularly changes in the shape and size of your moles.
Unfortunately, not all skin cancers can be prevented. However, if you catch melanoma early enough, there are effective treatment options available. Book an appointment with Mr Myles Smith now to talk through your individual options.