Is a UV Nail Lamp Harmful?

When you sit down at a salon chair for your uv nail lamp, an intricate ballet of light, chemistry and technology is hard at work to ensure that the result is as stylish, long-lasting and durable as possible. One of the tools used to accomplish this is a uv nail lamp, which exposes your nails to UV wavelengths that react with photoinitiators in gel polishes to turn them into a solid polymer.

Unlocking Brilliance: The Power of UV Nail Lamps

The rays in nail lamps are mostly UVA, which differs from UVB and UVC (the latter two causing sunburns and some forms of skin cancer) and doesn’t have the same effects on the skin as tanning beds do. However, UVA can still cause damage to DNA in the cells of your nails. A new study found that radiation from a UV nail lamp causes DNA mutations by stimulating the production of reactive oxygen species, which can interfere with proteins and mitochondria in the cell, causing them to break down or malfunction. This leaves the cell vulnerable to mutations and premature aging, says Maral Kibarian Skelsey, a board-certified dermatologist who worked on the study.

While the results of this study raise concerns, Skelsey emphasized that many factors play into whether nail lamps are harmful. Most importantly, the amount of exposure is critical: She recommends avoiding UV nail dryers for more than 10 minutes at a time and following Food and Drug Administration guidelines for safe use. LED lamps are also an option, which emit a shorter wavelength and cures in 30 seconds.

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