Reporting Paula Ebben
BOSTON (CBS) – For a lot of women, the most irritating part of getting a manicure is waiting for the polish to dry.
That is why many salons now have special dryers that use UV light to quickly cure the polish into a smudge-proof, shiny finish.
That may sound convenient, but some dermatologists believe the very thing that makes them effective, may also make them dangerous.
UV stands for ultraviolet, which is the same light that comes from the sun and also used in tanning beds. It is also the reason we use sunblock.
UV rays are known to cause premature aging, but that is not what worries doctors.
“There is this very theoretical risk that this mini UV tanning bed used by nail salons can contribute to skin cancer,” explained dermatologist Dr. Jean Tang.
A 2009 article in the Archives of Dermatology was first to suggest a possible link between the nail dryers and cancer.
The report cited two otherwise healthy middle-aged women who developed skin cancer on the backs of their hands. Both had long histories of drying their manicures under these UV lights.
“If you get your nails treated and dried with these UV lamps many, many times a year for several years, I think that probably could increase your risk for skin cancer,” Dr. Tang said.
There are some special manicures where the lights are needed to cure the specially designed coating.
For most manicures, however, they simply help speed up the drying process so you don’t smudge your nails on the way out of the salon.
Dermatologists say you can protect your skin by applying sunscreen before you use the dryer.
Many salons also provide mini-fans to help dry your polish naturally.