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Georgia University studies skin cancer risk in nail lamps

By Andrew McDougall+

13-May-2014
Last updated on 13-May-2014 at 17:55 GMT

Georgia University studies skin cancer risk in nail lamps

A group of scientists from Georgia Regents University has looked into the risks of using UV lamps in nail salons and found that potential DNA damage and risk of skin cancer remains small; although they promote the use of sunscreen or protective gloves while in use.

The researchers were investigating claims that using higher-wattage ultra violet (UV) lamps at nail salons to dry and cure polish was associated with more UV-A radiation being emitted, increasing health risks for consumers.

They found that the brief exposure after a manicure would require multiple visits for potential DNA damage and the risk for cancer remains small.

Given that it is Skin Cancer Awareness month, the study seems very timely, but plays down consumer risk at this stage.

Tests

In research published in the April edition of JAMA Dermatology, Dr Lyndsey R. Shipp and her co-authors, Dr Loretta Davis, Chief of Dermatology at MCG and Dr Frederick Rueggeberg, Professor of Oral Rehabilitation and Oral Biology at GRU’s College of Dental Medicine, tested 17 light units from 16 salons with a wide range of bulbs, wattage and irradiance emitted by each device.

And while, higher-wattage light sources were correlated with higher UV-A irradiance emitted, “Our data suggest that, even with numerous exposures, the risk for skin cancer, remains small,” Shipp says.

“That said, we concur with previous authors in recommending use of physical blocking sunscreens or UV-A protective gloves to limit the risk of skin cancer and photo aging.”

Dr Shipp, who is a fourth-year Dermatology Resident at the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia Regents Health System, says the use of lamps that emit UV radiation in nail salons has raised some concern about the risk of cancer, but previous studies have lacked a sampling of lights from salons.

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