Do UV Light For Nails Cause Cancer?


Aesthetic Medicine, Dermatology and Bariatric Surgery


After getting used to gel manicures, it’s hard to return to regular and chippable nail polish that is not guaranteed to last according to your aesthetic goals. Most salons now use a UV light for nails to achieve better results by setting the polish. UV lamps are necessary since the rays of UV nail light help the gel polish to harden, which makes the polish dry quickly. 

Recent studies published in many medical journals claim that UV light in nail dryers may cause cancer mutation in human cells; with the topic sounding in all the different media platforms, you are probably thinking if getting your nails done means any harm to your skin, so today our experienced dermatologists will explain what you need to know.



What Makes Nail UV Light Harmful?

Those lightboxes you see at your favorite nail salon emit UVA light, which is related to causing damage to your glowy skin. UVA radiation can lead to premature wrinkles, age spots, and in extreme cases, skin cancer. It is essential to add that there’s also a problem with LED lamps which most of the time are told to be “better for you” they can radiate light located in the UVA spectrum, which can increase the risk of photo-aging.

If you read what’s above, you may have found yourself thinking if the UV rays from those curious lamps are strong enough to cause cancer; our experienced and certificated dermatologist, Dr. Orly Cheirif, explains that though they may not be the same as sitting out taking sunlight without sunscreen, it’s still important to take precaution.

“Getting a gel manicure once or twice a month won’t cause skin cancer or any other condition. However, if you have been doing it regularly for many years, it is likely to develop some freckles on your hands, but it’s nothing to worry about. We can get rid of them with a touch of light!”



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Is Skin Cancer Around Nails Common?

 This is a spot you want to read, skin cancers are most common on sun-exposed body sites, and of course, this includes hands. If you notice a non-healing area sensitive to the touch or bleeding, check it with our experienced dermatologists to discard melanoma, a skin cancer with a colored spot. It can appear more like a reddish-pink bump that doesn’t disappear.



The Impact Of UV Light On Skin And Nails?

As we already know, gel nails may last much longer than traditional polish, but Dr. Orly remains careful; “Artificial nails too often are not too healthy for your natural nails, putting your hands under those blue lights constantly can be a little bit unhealthy.”

Our Tijuana dermatologist notes that getting gel manicures regularly can age the skin of your hands fast and lose elasticity too quickly. Our specialist also mentions that acetone (typically used in manicures) can dry your skin, making it more sensitive to UV rays. Also, specific medications can increase your chances of burning and separating the nail from the bed.

However, there is great news! The UV lamp won’t cause any harm to your nails, but the polish might. The gel and the acrylics certainly lead to the thinning of the nail plates, and this can lead to nail infections.


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How To Protect Your Skin From UV Nail Light

Dr. Orly recommends the following steps to protect your skin and nails:


  • Wear sunscreen. Apply sunscreen on your entire hands for at least 20 minutes before placing your hands under the UV lamp. 


  • Wear UV gloves. If you can, wear UV gloves with fingertips cutouts.


  • Use cuticle cream. Apply cuticle cream daily to each of your nails and surrounding skin. For best results, you can add cuticle oil.


  • Limit your manicure. Try to limit your gel manicure at the salon only for special occasions. 


  • Choose your salon wisely. Picking a salon with good reviews and sterile instruments is the best you can look for. Bacteria or contaminated tools can cause skin infections, so ensure you deal with experienced people. 



Dermatologists In Tijuana – Mexico

Dr. Orly Cheirif is at our clinic in the most critical complex in Latin America, New City Medical Plaza. Our staff offers many aesthetic medicine treatments and dermatological services using the latest technology from the region’s best doctors. Compared to the US, you will find many treatments at lower prices. You can save up to 70%!

Remember, a UV light for nails is not harmful to your skin and nails as soon as you apply precautions such as sunscreen, UV gloves, and cuticle cream, and limit your gel manicure to special occasions. To better achieve your aesthetic goals, visit our Tijuana dermatologists to help you improve your overall appearance. Contact us to schedule an appointment! 

Schedule an appointment now!

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