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UV nail lamps under spotlight

Although past studies have shown UV nail lamps to be safe, a new study by researchers at the University of California San Diego suggests they may cause cell mutations.

According to Professional Beauty UK, this study has been circulated by consumer press across the UK and is therefore being spoken about by salon clients, so nail techs should be armed with the knowledge of what the study investigated and of course of previous studies that consider UV nail lamps to be safe.

The new study suggests that UV gel lamps used to cure gel polish and builder gel could potentially cause cell mutations. This is the latest in a series of studies into the effect of UV nail lamps that have taken place over the last several years and by no means represents a reliable conclusion.

Safe UV nail lamps

Nail lamps from reputable manufacturers are thoroughly tested before being brought to maket and industry experts affirm that these can be considered safe for the level of use for which they were intended.

Back in 2012, a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology concluded that it would take 250 years of weekly use before UV lamps used at nail salons would begin to increase the risk of cancer.

As it stands, there is no evidence that they cause cancer and the US Food and Drug Administration considers the devices to be low risk when used as directed.

What does the new study claim?

In the new study, the researchers examined the spectrum of ultraviolet (UV) light emitted by nail lamps.

By exposing different human and animal cell types to the UV nail lamps, they said that one 20-minute session led to between 20-30% cell death, while three consecutive 20-minute exposures caused between 65-70% of the exposed cells to die.

Their initial findings published in Nature Communications urge that a long-term epidemiological study is needed to definitively prove a link between UV nail lamps and any increased risk of skin cancer, adding that this research could take another decade.

Dermatologists with no involvement in the study told The Washington Post that it’s important to note that the researchers examined human cells and not human beings, who have layer upon layer of skin that provides additional protection against UV rays.

Some dermatologists in the article recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is at least SPF 50 to protect the hands, while others recommend protective gloves. (Source: