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May 01, 2014 03:47 PM EDT

UV Nail Lamps May Increase Risk Of Skin Cancer


A visit to the nail salon may increase the risk of developing skin cancer, according to a recent study.

Researchers led by Dr. Lindsay Shipp of the department of dermatology at Georgia Regents University found that a typical nail salon visit, which involves drying freshly painted nails under a lamp that emits ultraviolet-A (UV-A) rays, carry a small cancer risk, HealthDay reported.

UV radiation is a significant factor in many skin cancer risks, accoridng to the American Cancer Society . 

"Considering the low UV-A energy exposure in an average manicure visit, multiple visits would be required to reach the threshold for potential DNA damage" that might cause cancer to develop, researchers wrote in their study, according to HealthDay.

For the study, researchers used high-tech meters to measure the UV-A light exposures "upon hands held in various positions" under 17 different types of drying lamps. The study was conducted at 16 nail salons.

They found that a single nail polish drying session under one of the lamps would not expose a person to potentially cancer-causing amount of UV-A light. They determined that "even with numerous exposures," the risk of carcinogenesis remains small.

"I wouldn't tell a patient to stop going unless they were going multiple times a month," Shipp from Georgia Regents University in Augusta told Reuters Health.

However, researchers agreed that precautions should be taken, including the use of sunscreens on the hands or UV-A protective gloves "to limit both cancer risk and premature aging of the skin," HealthDay reported.

Dr. Chris Adigun, assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, told HealthDay the recent study has "exposed an issue that needs to be addressed -- that there is little to no regulation on the manufacturing of these nail lamps."

Adigun, who was not involved in the study, said the study addresses the lack of regulation of "these lamps, leading to potentially varied malignancy risk from lamp to lamp and salon to salon."

The findings were recently published in the journal JAMA Dermatology.

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