An article from Shana Swain, DC Beauty Products for the DC Examiner discusses one of the industry’s biggest hot-button issues: Whether or not UV nail lamps are unsafe. Previously, the New York Times reported UV nail lights used in salons could be linked to skin cancer.

According to the article, the Archives of Dermatology contributed information to the report that linked two cases of otherwise healthy mid-aged women with no history of cancer who developed non-melanoma cancer on their hands. “The reason given was that the women, one who had a 15 year history of visiting the salon twice a month for her nails and one had used the salon lamps eight times in a year before she was diagnosed, had received significant UV exposure.” Virtually every media publication jumped on the article and soon the lamps were being compared to miniature tanning beds.

However, a new report, “Do UV Nail Lamps Emit Unsafe Levels of Ultraviolet Light? Three Experts Rebut Claims that UV Nail Lamps are Unsafe for Skin,” which can be found here, was released earlier this month that disputes the previous claims. The Professional Beauty Association, together with the Nail Manufacturers Council, says that the lamps are safe when “used as directed.” It should be noted that UV light can’t dry traditional nail polish;  the heat from any light bulb is what accelerates the dry time and the UV plays no role in drying (these products would dry in the dark). The only products that require the use of a UV light are UV curing gel nail products, for which the UV light helps the products properly cure and harden. Using UV lamps to dry traditional nail polish is unnecessary.

Lighting Sciences, Inc., an independent scientific testing lab that specializes in developing and testing illumination devices, tested the level of UV-A and UV-B lights emitted by the nail lamps on hand exposure and compared it to those same levels with direct sunlight exposure. The study found that the nail lamps do emit low levels of UV light, much lower in fact than that of tanning beds but when used as directed are safe.

To protect yourself no matter what, Swain suggests placing a small white cloth over the hands when under the lamp and/or using sunscreen on the hands prior to lamp exposure.

(Source: DC Examiner)