Jan. 19, 2023 -- Using ultraviolet light to dry gel fingernail polish could contribute to cancer risk, a study by the University of California San Diego has found.

The use of ultraviolet light in tanning has known dangers. UCSD scientists decided to examine UV nail driers, which use a different spectrum of ultraviolet light.

“Our experimental results and the prior evidence strongly suggest that radiation emitted by UV-nail polish dryers may cause cancers of the hand and that UV-nail polish dryers, similar to tanning beds, may increase the risk of early-onset skin cancer,” researchers wrote in a study published in the journal Nature Communications.

Researchers called for more study before saying with certainty that the use of UV dryers causes a greater risk of skin cancer. 

“It is likely that such studies will take at least a decade to complete and to subsequently inform the general public,” they wrote.

One 20-minute session with a UV dryer resulted in up to 30% of cells in a petri dish dying, researchers found. Three sessions put the percentage as high as 70%. Engadget wrote, “Among the remaining cells, the researchers saw evidence of mitochondrial and DNA damage, in addition to mutations that have been seen in skin cancer patients.”

UV lights are commonly used to dry gel nail polish in salons across the country and in other parts or the world, Engadget wrote. Gels last longer, and with UV dryers, gel polish hardens and retains its shine.

 

Show Sources

Nature Communications: “DNA damage and somatic mutations in mammalian cells after irradiation with a nail polish dryer.”

Engadget: “Researchers find UV nail polish dryers can cause DNA damage and mutations.”
 

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