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Study suggests UV lights at nail salons could cause cancer

New study suggests UV lights at nail salons could cause cancer
New study suggests UV lights at nail salons could cause cancer 02:12

Getting your nails done may be your only "me-time" activity of the month but a new study suggests that the UV ray machines used to cure gel nails can lead to cancer.

"There yes, can be an accumulated damage that can occur that can lead to cancer risk," said Edward S. Kim, physician-in-chief at City of Hope Orange County. 

Researchers found that using these machines for a 20-minute session killed 30% of human cells. It also caused DNA damage to the remaining cells with patterns seen in skin cancer patients.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, UV machines are generally safe for humans and are used as germicides, but while using them in a hospital setting where protective clothing and eye protection are required.

However, in Kim's opinion, using UV machines does not automatically lead to cancer and there are many factors to consider:

  • How often do you get your nails done?
  • How long is your skin exposed to UV rays?

Additionally, the fewer times you go to the nail salon, the less risk you put yourself in. Also, people should consider their personal risks of skin cancer. 

"If you have Irish descent — red hair, blue eyes — you have a higher inherent risk of developing skin cancers." 

Kim suggested people should put sunscreen on their hands before getting their nails done. 

The study added that there is still a need for additional research to discover the long-term effects of UV nail machines. 

"I would not discourage this person from getting their nails done," said Kim. "They should be practicing good preventative care — no matter if they're in a nail salon or if they're out in the sun."

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