Local solarium for fingers: are manicure lamps dangerous?

Oncologists have warned that a manicure with a UV lamp should not be done for people with sensitive skin.

Manicure lamps can cause skin cell death and cancer-related mutations, US scientists have found. True, so far the study has been carried out only on cell cultures. Can UV lamps really be dangerous and who would be better off refraining from a manicure that requires exposure to ultraviolet light, Gazeta.Ru sorted it out with the help of specialists.



Ultraviolet light from nail lamps can damage the DNA of human cells, scientists from the University of California at San Diego and the University of Pittsburgh in  the US have found . The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

“In small doses, ultraviolet light is necessary for the synthesis of vitamin D in the body, activation of processes in the cerebral cortex, increased mental and physical performance, faster healing of wounds and ulcers. However, prolonged and intense exposure to ultraviolet radiation leads to the development of various diseases, including cancer.

The issue of excessive human exposure to ultraviolet radiation has long been studied, and the results of the studies are disappointing: earlier meta-analyses have shown a causal relationship between skin cancer and exposure to UV-emitting devices, in particular for sunbathing”,

said in an interview with Gazeta.Ru the chief oncologist of SM-Clinic, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor Alexander Seryakov .

However, there has not yet been evidence for the possible risks of using nail lamps.

Damage and Mutations

Experiments with human and mouse skin cells have shown that 20-30% of them die after two 20-minute sessions in a manicure lamp. In the surviving cells, the researchers found DNA damage and mutations associated with skin cancer.

The results obtained on cell lines cannot be fully transferred to the skin, and the exposure to ultraviolet radiation in the experiment was extreme – usually, during a manicure, the fingers are in the lamp for a total of about 10 minutes, the authors of the work note. However, the study shows that the risk of developing cancer may still exist, and ongoing epidemiological studies are needed to determine its extent.

In fact, LED-lamps for nails are similar to a solarium that acts locally on the fingers, ”Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology Stepan Andreev told Gazeta.Ru.

In sunlight, the proportion of ultraviolet radiation is relatively small compared to visible light, he added. The maximum radiation of the Sun falls on the green color, and in general it is the so-called radiation of a completely black body, which contains all wavelengths.

“Therefore, in order to ensure the hardening of nail polish under the action of sunlight, it will take much more time than under the action of special LED lamps,” Andreev explained.

Who can and who can’t

Although ultraviolet radiation in lamps is more powerful than solar radiation, there is still no unambiguous data on its harm, and the risks remain only hypothetical, said the head of the department of head and neck tumors of the N.N. Petrov» of the Ministry of Health of Russia , oncologist Zamira Radzhabova.

“There is still no reliable data that would say that when you get a manicure, the risk of getting skin cancer increases,” she explained. – Presumably, exposure to ultraviolet radiation from lamps can be a provoking factor in the development of malignant tumors of the skin and nail phalanges, but all these assumptions require careful verification. So far, no contraindications to the use of UV lamps for manicure have been registered.

Foreign experts suggest using gloves during manicure, which leave only the nail plates open – this reduces the area of ​​​​ultraviolet exposure. If there are pigmented nevi, moles on the hands, just in case, you can apply sunscreen on your hands before manicure. It is worth doing and just being in the open sun, it is desirable to protect the skin.

Seryakov advises to treat the use of UV lamps more carefully, even despite the absence of contraindications.

“A study done on cell lines demonstrates that radiation from UV nail dryers is cytotoxic, genotoxic and mutagenic. It does not provide direct evidence of an increased risk of finger skin cancer in humans, but doctors still tend to believe that UV lamps for manicure, like UV lamps for tanning beds, may be a risk factor, he says. — The main characteristics of any UV lamp are the power of its radiation, the range of the wave spectrum, the type of glass, and the service life. From these parameters depends on how the lamp will be useful or harmful to humans.

Most people are not able to accurately control the dose of UV on their own and resort to protection methods in a timely manner, so it is often overdosed, which causes all sorts of problems.”

A healthy person with moderate use of a manicure lamp is unlikely to have a serious risk of cancer, burns, or severe photoaging of the hands. However, if the skin is too sensitive and exposure to sunlight quickly leads to redness, peeling, itching, then such people should be more careful when manicures – such a reaction to ultraviolet radiation is associated with an increased risk of developing skin cancer. It can be not only congenital, but also appear on the background of taking certain medications or using cosmetics with components that increase photosensitivity, such as musk or orange oil.

“I would also warn those who have pigmented nevi on the fingers and toes and would recommend abandoning a manicure with a UV lamp or carefully shielding problem areas – use a cream with a high level of SPF protection, anti-ultraviolet gloves with slits at the ends of the fingers .

Those who already had skin cancer in their anamnesis should refrain from such a drying method during manicure and pedicure, ”added Seryakov.

In addition, the oncologist advises those who suffer from eczema or psoriasis, have systemic diseases, those who had skin cancer among close relatives, as well as children and adolescents, to be wary of manicure with a UV lamp and, in general, exposure to ultraviolet radiation . If you are taking photosensitivity medications for a long time, you should consult your doctor to find out how much UV light is acceptable.

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