The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Official Position on UV Light and Manicure Safety

New York, NY (UPDATED September 1, 2015) – Ultraviolet radiation-emitting nail lamps have become a regular part of most trips to the nail salon, causing many patrons to question manicure safety. These lamps are typically used to speed-dry regular manicures, and they are actually necessary to set gel manicures. Some nail lamps are called “UV” lamps, and some are called LED lamps, but both emit UV radiation. They predominantly produce UVA rays, which have been linked to both premature skin aging and skin cancer. However, even the most intense of these devices presents only a moderate UV risk – a far lower risk than that presented by UV tanning devices. To play it safe with gel manicures, The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen to hands 20 minutes prior to UV light exposure. If getting a regular manicure, the safest bet is to allow nails to air-dry naturally, avoiding the drying lamps altogether. Remember, all nail lamps produce UV radiation. 

--Skin Cancer Foundation Vice President Elizabeth K. Hale, MD

About The Skin Cancer Foundation

The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. Since its inception in 1979, the Foundation has recommended following a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use. For more information, visit