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Health

Are UV Nail Dryers Dangerous?

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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By Lisa Sigell

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — UV lights are used for quick dry and to cure gel nails at a lot of salons these days. But should patrons be concerned about the risk?

“I sell mostly in jewelry business so I have to show off my nails, put the rings on or bracelets on,” Kristine Keyser said.

Keyser said she has been using the UV nail dryers, which emit ultraviolet rays, for years.

Katie Cazorla, owner of The Painted Nail in Sherman Oaks, has had her hands under these dryers for as long as she can remember.

“If you’re gonna lay in a tanning bed for you know 20 minutes I can see where that can be an issue. But if you’re doing this once a month and your hands are under there for two to five minutes, it’s really not a problem,” Cazorla said.

But a study last year has raised concerns about these ultraviolet dryers. Two otherwise healthy middle-aged women developed skin cancer on the backs of their hands.

The only connection was that they both had long histories of drying their nails under these UV lights.

UCLA researcher and dermatologist Jenny Kim went straight to her lab looking at the UV light emitted from different machines.

“Well it means that there’s enough wattage here that could be very similar to what we might be receiving if you go out in the sun at noon on a sunny day in Westwood,” Dr. Kim said.

Dr. Kim says there is no concrete evidence that proves much UV light it takes to develop skin cancer but says the dryers should be used in moderation.

“I think it makes me feel that it’s a worrisome device. Very short time use of this machine will lead to skin cancer? We don’t know. We really need further studies to know that,” Dr. Kim added.

But Kristine Keyser isn’t worried. She’s never under the light for long… only minutes.

The editor of Nail Pro Magazine, Stephanie Yaggy, says nail salons would not use a product that is dangerous.

A recent study by the industry showed the dryers are safe when used properly and in moderation.

Dr. Kim says if you do use the dryers, you can cover the back of your hands with a cloth or have the technician put sunscreen on your hands before you put them under the light.

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