The recent controversy over the use of UV lamps causing cancer in the nail bed when used to dry has many women concerned and opting for alternatives.
Accusations began with reports finding the UV exposure from drying nails equaled the exposure from a tanning bed. Experts are concerned that exposure from UV lamps leads to the more dangerous skin cancer, melanoma. Melanoma is much harder to cure and has a high mortality rate. Also, keep in mind, even if it’s low level exposure, women are still at risk for other forms of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. These are caused by chronic low-level exposure to the sun or UV rays. This cancer is easier to cure when detected early.
Some facts about skin cancer:
- Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
- Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
- Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer; an estimated 2.8 million are diagnosed annually in the US. BCCs are rarely fatal, but can be highly disfiguring if allowed to grow.
- Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common form of skin cancer. An estimated 700,000 cases of SCC are diagnosed each year in the US causing 2,500 deaths.
- An estimated 3,170 deaths from non-melanoma skin cancers will occur in the US in 2013.
- About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
- Melanoma accounts for less than five percent of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.
- Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for young people 15-29 years old.
This statement further explains the issue:
“"Nail dryers use UVA light," Dr. D'Anne Kleinsmith, spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) tells Yahoo! Shine. "It doesn't cause much burning but penetrates the skin more than UVB. UVA radiation is more associated with damage to deeper levels of the skin, wrinkling, and cancer. She adds, "Without the burning, we are more are apt to overdose on UVA."
Nail drying machines are unregulated so it is difficult to determine how much UVA they emit. Older machines may emit higher levels. While more studies need to be done, research published in 2009 indicates a connection between UV nail dryers and skin cancer. Some dermatologists are reporting seeing skin problems around the nail beds of patients with little sun damage on other parts of their bodies. While individual trips to the salon might not be a problem, over time, the exposure adds up. “ (Weir, Yahoo Shine)
The general facts about skin cancer sound pretty alarming to me. Regardless of your thoughts about using UV nail dryers, minimizing exposure to UV rays and taking extra precautions, such as lathering up your hands with sunscreen before placing them under the UV light, seems to be the smart thing to do. While I’m not preaching, remember, those beautiful nails now may come at a much greater cost later.