Nail Salon Manicures May Include Free Skin Damage

iStock/Thinkstock(AUGUSTA, Ga.) -- Ultraviolet lamps have been used at nail salons for years to dry wet nail polish, and scientists have also known for years that UV light is considered a carcinogen.

Dermatologists at the Medical College of Georgia recently decided to examine the issue by studying 17 UV lamps at commercial salons and specifically screen the light sources for UV-A irradiance, known to cause DNA damage.

Researchers studied the levels of irradiance from five separate lamp positions, to account for varying “nail-drying” postures, and calculated a median of 11.8 visits as sufficient to damage skin cells. The 17 lamps examined displayed significant variations based on wattage, bulb and position.  Taking all lamps into account, the minimum number of days to incur skin damage was eight and the maximum was 208.

Experts note that even with repeat visits, the risk for carcinogenesis remains small for nail salon customers, but they advise that establishments use physical blocking sunscreens and/or UV-A blocking gloves.

Medical observers note that there have been previous studies highlighting the dangers from UV lamps, but this research is the first to physically sample those from commercial nail salons. The study was published in JAMA Dermatology.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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