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May 31, 2014 04:16 AM EDT

Salon UV Lamps are Associated With Cancer Risk, Study

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Georgia Regents University researchers found that using higher-wattage ultra violet (UV) lamps to dry nail polish at salons can increase cancer risk.

Researchers said that lamps emit large amounts of UV-A radiation and eventually damages DNA and can cause hideous "lizard claws" after multiple visits to the salon and the risk for cancer, however, remains small.

For the study, the researchers tested 17 light units from 16 salons with a wide range of bulbs, wattage and irradiance emitted by each device. They found that higher-wattage light sources were associated with higher UV-A irradiance emissions.

"Our data suggest that, even with numerous exposures, the risk for carcinogensis remains small. That said, we concur with previous authors in recommending use of physical blocking sunscreens or UV-A protective gloves to limit the risk of carcinogenesis and photoaging," the researchers said in a press release.

The finding, published in JAMA Dermatology, supports a 2013 New York University School of Medicine study that showed the evidence of gel manicures heightening the risk of skin cancer.

Dr. Chris Adigun, assistant professor of the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, said that increased UV light exposure to dry the gel destroys skin cells similar to that of tanning beds.

"Women who frequently get gel manicures should consider their skin-cancer risk because the UV light needed to cure the gel manicure is a risk factor for skin cancer," Adigun said, Fox News reports.

The findings are proving to be accurate as two healthy women with no personal or family history of skin cancer developed non-melanoma skin cancer on the back of their hands in 2009. Both the middle-aged women reported exposure to UV nail lights, according to National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Huffington Post has listed tips to bear in mind while visiting nail salons:

-          Choose nail salons that use fans or LED lights instead of UV drying lamps.

-          Opt for nail polish sans toxic chemicals like dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde among others.

-          In order to maintain healthy nails, do not encourage frequent gel or regular manicures.

-          Apply sunscreen before visiting salons with UV drying lamps.

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