According to CNN, new research suggests that the radiation emitted by nail dryers may induce cancer-causing mutations in human cells. Dermatologists have known for a long time that exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is detrimental. The findings validate why some doctors have modified or discontinued their gel manicure procedures.
“The findings add to evidence already published showing the adverse impacts of (ultraviolet) radiation,” said Dr. Julia Curtis, an associate professor of dermatology at the University of Utah who was not involved in the study but stressed the importance of the subject.
“UV nail lights are like small tanning beds for your nails,” Curtis said of the gel nail treatment. The wavelength of ultraviolet light, a subset of the electromagnetic spectrum, ranges between 10 and 400 nanometers, according to the UCAR Center for Science Education.
UV nail dryers have grown in popularity over the last decade because they employ a wavelength of light found in the sunshine (315 to 400 nanometers), which may penetrate the skin more thoroughly. According to the study release, tanning beds utilize a spectrum between 280 and 400 nanometers, whereas nail dryers use a spectrum between 340 and 395 nanometers.
Ludmil Alexandrov states that “looking at the way these gadgets are presented,” there is no need to be concerned about their safety. However, this is the first time anyone has explored such devices’ molecular and cellular impacts on human cells. Alexandrov is a bioengineering and cellular and molecular medicine associate professor at the University of California, San Diego.
After 20 minutes of exposure to UV radiation, 20%-30% of human and mouse cells died, according to the researchers. Three 20-minute doses resulted in cell death of 65-70%. Survivor cells suffered mitochondrial and DNA damage, leading to alterations that are typical of human skin cancers.
Dr. Julie Russak, the founder of the Russak Dermatology Clinic in New York City, believes that the study’s fundamental shortcoming is that it was conducted on cell lines rather than actual patients and animals. Russak was not involved in the research.
Furthermore, “we’re doing it (irradiating) within human hands,” which creates a “clear difference,” according to Russak. The skin’s outermost layer absorbs most UV rays from the sun. The results vary slightly when cells are directly exposed to radiation in a petri dish. Corneocytes and the epidermis do not protect the skin. UVA radiation can also penetrate deep into the skin.
Dr. Shari Lipner, associate professor of clinical dermatology and director of the nail division at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine, cautioned that “definitely think harder about just exposing our hands and fingers to UVA light without any protection” in light of this study and previous evidence, such as case reports of people developing squamous cell carcinomas, the second most common form of skin cancer, in association with UVA dryers. Lipner appears to have been omitted from the research.