As a person in a position to reverse sun damage on all parts of the body, including the hands, I’m regularly asked about the safety of UV lamps in nail salons. How safe are those lamps? Are you doing irreversible damage to your hands by simply getting your nails done? Research is just now coming out showing that yes, it is safe and it is not increasing your risk of photodamage or skin cancer.
The Internet Fight
If you simply Google “UV nail safety” you will be bombarded with sites touting a lack of safety for UV nail lamps. You’ll also find “experts” like Dr Oz doing shows on the fact that it’s unsafe. Ironically with all of that blathering online, the actual studies prove the safety of these lamps. Since I’m a science follower and not a rumor follower, let me show you the studies that prove it’s safe!
UV Nail Lamps Are Safer Than Natural Sunlight Or Sun Lamps
According to Dr. Robert M. Sayre, Ph.D., of Rapid Precision Testing Laboratories (one of the creators of the SPF rating system): “UV Nail Lamps are safer than natural sunlight or sunlamps.” Dr Sayre headed up a large study evaluating 6 UV lamps used in the United States to evaluate safety and skin cancer risks. They tested the lamps at different levels of proximity to the lamps and in the end found them to be safer than even natural sunlight. Even good sunscreen users have a difficult time keeping their hands protected from the regular sun, it’s unnecessary to fret over these UV lamps. See his full study here…
You Are Getting More UV Exposure By Working In Your Office
Another physician, Dr David Valia, found that the level of UV exposure you are getting from your fluorescent lighting in your office is greater than that of the UV nail lamps. He found specifically that “The amount of energy from a UV lamp during a nail service would be roughly equivalent to the amount of UV exposure one would experience during a typical day of exposure in indoor fluorescent lighting.” So if you aren’t worrying about exposure in the office, I’d say you can safely stop worrying about exposure with your nail technician.
It Takes 250 Years Of Weekly Nail Appointments To Create Damage To Your Hands
Dr Alina Markova did a study measuring the actual radiation output from UV nail lamps and found it to be safe. From WebMD: “They compared the cancer-causing potential of each device to a course of treatment with the FDA-approved UV phototherapy devices commonly used by dermatologists.” And “Over 13,000 Device A or B and more than 40,000 Device C sessions lasting for 10 minutes would be required to be received at the nail salon to equal the UV dose received during one [phototherapy] course,” Markova and Weinstock calculate. Read more about that study here…
You Are Receiving More Radiation In Your Hands From Your Cell Phone Than UV Nail Lamps
The antenna in your cell phone is putting out more radiant energy than UV nail lamps. Additionally, driving your car with your hands on your steering wheel is giving you more exposure than these lamps are as well. Our hands get significantly more radiation exposure than nearly any part of our bodies so if you are worried about all of this the best solution is sunscreen application on your hands daily. The unfortunate news is that if you are close to 40 or over, you have already had enough exposure to create aging and photodamage to your hands. I do have a laser that can reverse some of this damage, if you’d like it fixed call and schedule an IPL laser for your hands.
Kudos To The Best Nail Person Ever!
I can’t write this without telling you all that I have the absolutely most amazing nail person ever! Thanks to Jennifer Kopolow my nails ALWAYS look amazing. She’s taught me so much about what makes a great manicure. If you have chipping or peeling issues with your gel polish manicures it’s likely because your manicurist is using a sub-par, mismatched system. Your base nail polish, the UV light that is used and even the polishing technique can make all the difference in the world in the life of your nail treatment. To make things even better, she uses a LED light which has proven to be even safer (and faster) than even the lamps I discuss in this article. If you want the best nails you can possibly get I recommend that you contact Jennifer for your next appointment at 314-330-6184.
So at the end of the day the science shows that’s it perfectly fine for you to have perfectly manicured UV gel polish nails. Multiple studies from multiple doctors have shown it to be safe! As a person who has HAD skin cancer in the past, I promise you that I wouldn’t risk more of it if I believed it to be unsafe.