UV Light Nail Dryers May Cause Skin Cancer

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There's now a new warning about the popular gel manicures.

It turns out, they could cause skin cancer if you're not careful, and if you get your nails done regularly, you have reason to be cautious.

At Boardwalk Spa and Nail Salon in Bryan, you'll see all the things you'd expect to - plenty of nail polish, pedicure chairs, but there's something that may seem a little out of place - sunscreen.

Owner Patrice Rivers says, "We always offer sunscreen, a topical sunscreen that we spray on."

That's because, as a registered nurse, she knows the risk of skin cancer that comes along with the UV lights found inside dryers used to set gel nail polish.

She says, "To cure the nail, to get the good hard finish with gel nail polish, it really does take a good UV light."

It's the same UV light you'll find in a tanning bed. To make a fair comparison, though, the lights in the dryers are typically not as harsh as the ones in tanning beds.

Rivers says, "It's like comparing yourself to being run over by a truck, or being run over by a tricycle. But having said that, you don't want to be hit by either."

Her philosophy - always wear sunscreen, just in case.

"It's not something you want to leave unaddressed."

St. Joseph Physician Dr. Kia Parsi agrees, saying "When you have more exposure, that just increases your risk of exposure."

The type of sunscreen doesn't matter, but the SPF does. So whether it's lotion or spray, as long as it's at least SPF 30, you're covered.

Dr. Parsi cautions, "You want to make sure if there's a hand massage involved, you get that after the UV exposure, because that can decrease the effectiveness of the sunscreen."

Sunscreen isn't your only answer though.

Dr. Parsi adds, "Another thing you can do is to wear UV protective gloves with the tips cut off to leave the nails exposed."

Back at Boardwalk Salon, Patrice Rivers has this message for her clients - as you're choosing your favorite nail color, choose to protect yourself at the same time.

"Better to be safe than sorry. Absolutely."