(HealthDay News) — The risk of cancer from ultraviolet (UV) nail drying lamp exposure is small, according to a research letter published online April 30 in JAMA Dermatology.

Lyndsay R. Shipp, MD, from the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, and colleagues used a UV-A/UV-B light meter (Sper Scientific) to measure nail drying lamp devices at a sample of commercial salons. Measurements were taken from five different positions to simulate different potential hand positions by the client.

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The researchers found that there was a wide range of light source brands, bulb wattages, and number of bulbs per device in the evaluation of 17 lamps at 16 salons. There was a correlation between higher-wattage sources and higher UV-A irradiance emitted. 

The median UV-A irradiance measured was used to calculate the energy density delivered. Longer exposure times led to increased potential for cutaneous damage based on the comparison between delivered energy density and 600 kJ/m² (60 J/cm²), the energy density shown to cause DNA damage in UV-A-irradiated keratinocytes.

“Although the in vivo risk from multiple manicure visits remains untested, our data suggest that, even with numerous exposures, the risk for carcinogenesis remains small,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Shipp LR, Warner CA, Rueggeberg FA, et al. Further Investigation Into the Risk of Skin Cancer Associated With the Use of UV Nail Lamps. JAMA Dermatol. 2014;doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.8740.