Ultraviolet lights are being used in manicures to help speed up the drying process of freshly painted fingernails. There is no doubt UV light nail dryers are convenient. Nails dry faster under the light than they would if allowed to air dry. Unfortunately, with this convenience comes some valid medical concerns.
1 Ultraviolet Light Nail Dryers
The type of ultraviolet light being used in nail salons to facilitate the drying of nail polish is similar to that used in a tanning bed. Although smaller than the lights found in tanning beds, these lights emit an equivalent amount of UV radiation. Most nail salons use these type of UV nail dryers, but some salon owners do abstain from using them because of potential health risks.
2 Health Risks
Too much exposure to ultraviolet light can lead to the development of skin conditions ranging from those that are inconvenient to illnesses that are deadly. Dermatologists have concerns that the UV nail dryers currently being used in nail salons could do major damage to the skin. This damage could lead to premature skin aging and, more seriously, skin cancer. According to CBS Chicago, a report was published in 2009 in the Archives of Dermatology suggesting non-melanoma skin cancer development in two middle age women with no family history of skin cancer may have been directly related to the fact that these women had ultraviolet light nail dryers applied to their nails multiple times a year.
3 Preventing Skin Damage
While there is no real way to protect the skin located under the fingernail itself, an individual who is unwilling to give up UV nail drying treatments at a salon can take proactive measures to protect the skin. Prior to having a manicure that will end with nails being dried by a UV light, a woman should apply a high SPF sunscreen to as much of her hand as possible. This will help protect exposed skin from harmful rays.
4 Alternatives to UV Light Dryers
Ultraviolet light nail dryers are time efficient, but are thought to be unsafe and unhealthy. Some nail salon clients are willing to take this risk in order to have instantly dried manicured nails. For clients who do not mind waiting a short time for nails to dry and want to avoid UV light exposure there are other options. These clients can allow their nails to dry naturally on their own, or if available, have their nails dried under a fan using air and no UV light.