A common nail salon tool can cause DNA damage and mutations in human cells, a new study has found.
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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 ultraviolet or UV light from any source, according to CNN.
In fact, the results reaffirm why some dermatologists have changed the way they get their gel manicures or stopped doing them altogether.
Ultraviolet light, a form of electromagnetic radiation, has a wavelength ranging from 10 to 400 nanometers, according to the UCAR Center for Science Education.
Ultraviolet A light (315 to 400 nanometers), found in sunlight, penetrates deeper into the skin 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 is 340 to 395 nanometers, according to a press release from the study obtained by CNN.
Researchers in the study exposed cells from both humans and mice to UV light, finding that a 20-minute session caused 20-30% of cells to die.
Three consecutive 20-minute exposures caused 65-70% of the exposed cells to die.
The remaining cells suffered mitochondrial and DNA damage, resulting in mutations with patterns that have been seen in human skin cancer.
If you’re concerned about gel manicures, 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 that contains zinc and titanium around the nails and wear UV gloves with your fingertips cut off when it’s time to dry them.
If you regularly get gel manicures, it is recommended that you see a board-certified dermatologist who can examine your skin for any precursors to skin cancer and treat it before it becomes a serious problem.