Question to an expert: Are gel polish lamps dangerous?

By | March 30, 2021

We are used to searching online for ANSWERS TO MOST OF THE QUESTIONS THAT HAVE EXCITED US . In this series of articles, we ask just such questions – burning, unexpected or common – to professionals in a variety of fields.

The emergence of resistant coatings for many solved the problem of manicure: nails look freshly painted for a long time, remain thick and strong. It is no longer necessary to carry varnishes and liquid to remove them with you on trips, it is enough to come to the salon (or change the coating of the house) every three to four weeks. True, lamps for fixing these light-curing coatings raise questions – will regular targeted exposure to ultraviolet radiation be harmful? Are there the least hazardous types of lamps? Is it possible to reduce the risk (if any)? We asked these questions to an expert.

Vera Voronina

doctor of the highest category, candidate of medical sciences, dermatologist at the Rassvet clinic, author of the blog “Dr.veravoronina. Healthy skin “

In recent years, various long -lasting manicure options have become very popular – these coatings look good and are much more durable than regular nail polish. This can be especially important for those who have damaged nails due to trauma, people with brittle, streaked, bumpy nails. But the safety of devices for drying such coatings raises many questions – and they still have not received unambiguous answers, confirmed by research.

It is assumed that with long-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation, there is a risk of damage to the DNA of skin cells (primarily melanocytes and keratinocytes) and the nail matrix. In addition, it is known that ultraviolet rays play an important role in the occurrence of melanoma in the hands and feet.

UVA lamps are used to dry the gel polish . It is often said that LED, or LED, lamps are safer – but this is not so, because they also emit type A ultraviolet rays. Skin burns when exposed to these rays do not occur – mainly type B rays lead to burns. the effects – photoaging and increased risk of skin cancer – are determined precisely by exposure to UVA rays.

To date, there are only a few reports of cases of non-melanoma skin cancer, possibly associated with the use of lamps for drying manicure. The longer the duration and intensity of exposure to UV rays, the higher the carcinogenic risk. Several studies have been conducted over the years of using lamps to dry manicure, and the results have been inconsistent.

Most of them indicate a very small increase in risk – we are talking about one case of squamous cell skin cancer per 45-400 thousand sessions. But there are also the results of another study – an independent examination of the power of such lamps was carried out, and it turned out that the radiation was very intense. The data from this study show that during a gel manicure session in less than ten minutes, the skin of the hands receives energy at a dose almost equivalent to the recommended daily limit. And this energy is completely generated by UVA – that is, rays with a more pronounced damaging effect than natural sunlight.

Do not panic: the nail blocks UVB almost completely and allows only 0.5–2.5% UVA to penetrate, that is, it effectively protects the nail bed. In addition, the back of the hand is almost never protected by clothing and is exposed to sunlight – which means it is the part of the body that is best adapted and resistant to UV light. However, it is now recommended to apply a broad spectrum, high SPF sunscreen (30 or higher) to the skin half an hour before drying. You can buy special gloves or socks for this – however, the fingertips around the nails will still remain unprotected.

In general, if you use UV protection with a gel manicure, you can not be afraid of unwanted effects. And for home lamp manufacturers, it would be good to accompany them with messages about possible risks – then people will make more informed choices.

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