UV nail lamps pose no cancer risk, says new study

It would take 250 years of weekly use before UV lamps used at nail salons would begin to increase the risk of cancer, according to a new study.

Researchers Alina Markova and Martin Weinstock, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, US, assessed the risk of the skin cancer known as keratinocyte carcinoma associated with the use of three UV nail lamp models considered to be representative of standard UV nail lamps.

Assuming 10 minutes of use per UV nail lamp session, the researchers in the US calculated that it would take 250 years of weekly UV nail sessions to create any risk at all, and even then it would be minimal.

The study contradicts the suggestions of a headline grabbing 2009 study that suggested the lamps could be carcinogenic, following a report of skin cancer on the hands of two women with no other obvious cancer risks.

In the 2009 report, researchers suggested that nail lamps expose people to as much radiation as tanning beds. But Markova said that study used the wrong method to calculate radiation exposure from the lamps.

The new study tested the radiation from three types of lamp: one with four 9watt UV fluorescent bulbs; one with one 9w UV fluorescent bulb; and one with six 1w LED lights.

The study has just been published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.