MANY women love a manicure – and even consider it a boon.
But the common – and often expensive – habit could do you more harm than good, as experts warn it could cause skin cancer.
The UV lamps used in hair salons to dry nails and harden gel can damage skin in ways similar to sunbeds, US researchers have found.
In a series of studies, the experts found that a large proportion of the skin cells that were repeatedly exposed to the light from these lamps died.
And the surviving cells showed signs of damage that increases the risk of skin cancer.
In the journal Nature Communications, the authors warned: “Our experimental results strongly suggest that the radiation emitted by UV nail polish dryers can cause cancer of the hand.”
They added, “Similar to tanning beds, UV nail polish dryers may increase the risk of early-stage skin cancer.”
However, they explained that the study provides no direct evidence that the devices cause cancer.
Beauty queen Karolina Jasko was diagnosed with skin cancer after years of “having her nails done”.
Karolina, who was crowned Miss Illinois in 2018, immediately went to the doctor after noticing a black line under her fingernail that turned out to be subungual melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer that affects the nail bed.
dr Walayat Hussain, a spokesman for the British Association of Dermatologistspreviously told The Sun Online: “Nail melanoma can occur, it’s a fairly rare form of melanoma.”
“It’s an isolated, pigmented stripe that runs through one of your nails.
“It’s like having a birthmark in your nail. It’s the same process as a birthmark anywhere else on the body, it just forms where the nail sits.”
To protect yourself from the potentially harmful rays, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying a broad spectrum sunscreen to hands 20 minutes prior to treatment.
However, this precaution does not protect against subungual melanoma.
For a regular manicure, it’s safest to let the nails air dry naturally, avoid the drying lamps altogether, or use an air blower or fan with no UV light.
Symptoms of subungual melanoma
If you’re concerned, it’s important that you always see your GP, as subungual melanoma doesn’t always have a streak on the nail.
Therefore, it is important that you pay attention to other signs on the nails and toes that could indicate disease.
- change color
- redness and swelling
- Nails stand out from the nail bed
- grooves or gaps
- thick and overgrown