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UV Nail Lamps Don't Appear to Cause Skin Cancer

Typical 10-minute exposure in lamps used at salons or home is likely safe, researchers say

THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- If you routinely quick-dry manicure or pedicure polish by placing your fingers or toes under an ultraviolet lamp, you may find this reassuring: UV lamps used at nail salons do not appear to significantly increase the risk of a type of skin cancer called keratinocyte carcinoma.

In a new study, researchers assessed the risk of keratinocyte carcinoma associated with the use of three UV nail lamp models. The lamps were considered to be representative of standard UV nail lamps, said researchers Alina Markova and Martin Weinstock, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Providence, R.I.

Assuming 10 minutes of use per UV nail lamp session -- a common length of time of use -- the researchers calculated that it would take 250 years of weekly UV nail sessions to equal the risk of exposure associated with one course of narrowband UVB treatments for certain kinds of skin conditions.

Based on this finding, the researchers concluded that UV nail lamps do not play a substantial role in the risk of developing keratinocyte carcinoma.

The study authors noted that previous research on UV nail lamps has been skimpy, including a single tiny case study of two women who developed another type of skin cancer on the backs of their hands and who had used such lamps, and another industry-sponsored study that "used an inappropriate study design" comparing UV light to sunlight.

The new study, which did not receive any industry support, was published online Dec. 6 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute outlines ways to prevent skin cancer.


SOURCE: Journal of Investigative Dermatology, news release, Dec. 6, 2012

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