A new study finds that a common nail salon tool can cause DNA damage and mutations in human cells.
Nail dryer radiation is the culprit.
Some dermatologists say the results of a study published Jan. 17 in the journal Nature Communications aren’t new to concerns about UVA or UVB radiation from any source, according to CNN.
In fact, the findings reaffirm why some dermatologists have changed the way they get gel manicures or stopped doing them altogether.
Ultraviolet radiation, a form of electromagnetic radiation, has a wavelength range from 10 to 400 nanometers, according to the UCAR Center for Science Education.
Ultraviolet light (315 to 400 nanometers), found in sunlight, penetrates the skin more deeply and is commonly used in UV nail dryers, which have become popular over the past decade.
Tanning beds use 280 to 400 nanometers, while the spectrum used in nail dryers ranges from 340 to 395 nanometers, according to a press release from the study obtained by CNN.
In the study, the researchers exposed cells from humans and mice to UV light, and found that a 20-minute session caused 20-30% of the cells to die.
Three consecutive 20-min exposures caused 65–70% of the exposed cells to die.
The remaining cells suffered mitochondrial and DNA damage, resulting in mutations with patterns seen in human melanomas.
If you’re concerned about a gel manicure, but don’t want to give it up, there are some precautions you can take to mitigate the risks.
Among other things, you can apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen containing zinc and titanium around the nails and wear UV gloves with your fingertips cut off when it’s time to dry them off.
If you use the gel regularly, it is recommended that you consult a board-certified dermatologist who can check your skin for any precursors of skin cancer and treat it before it becomes a serious problem.
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