New study indicates nail dryers could increase skin cancer risk

Some new research shines a light on how using nail-polish dryers could increase a person’s risk of getting skin cancer. The study published in the journal Nature Communications last month looked at the effect of radiation emitted by UV nail polish dryers on mammalian cells.

The results showed the dryers not only damaged DNA in the cells, but also led to mutations in cells that could lead to an increased risk of getting skin cancer.

Dr. Adam Friedman, professor and chair of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in D.C., said while it is “extremely alarming” that cell death and even mutations could come after just a 120-minute session, more research is needed.

“We need to understand that this doesn’t 100% translate to the human condition, but we need to better evaluate the risk of using these commonly used devices in nail salons,” Friedman said.

He said he believes it is unlikely that only a few nail dryer sessions would lead to skin cancer.

“The bigger issue is we don’t know what the cumulative risk is of individuals going and being exposed to these dryers over and over again.”

Friedman said avoiding nail dryers, which are necessary for gel manicures, is the safest bet. There are some steps a person can take to protect their skin when using nail-polish dryers.

“Putting sunscreen on the areas around the nail before using said device in the nail salon can help protect the skin around the nails,” Friedman said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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