While it appears that an overnight panic button has been pushed over the question of whether UV nail lamps cause cancer, how can you best respond to clients with questions? It gives cause for nail techs and salon owners to dig deeper into this health concern. After all, if it matters to your clients, it should matter to your business.
Your clients may have seen or read some of these claims linking UV nail lamps to cancer—here’s a shortlist of what they’re saying.
-On popular beauty website, Refinery29, the Skin Cancer Foundation is quoted saying that the risk is greatest for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which the Skin Cancer Foundation says is the second most common skin cancer and is mainly caused by chronic UV exposure and is “very common on the hands and around the fingernails,” according to Elizabeth K. Hale, M.D., vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation
-A study appearing on Yahoo News by American Academy of Dermatology states that gel manicures are dangerous to health. “Women who frequently get gel manicures should consider their skin cancer risk because the UV light needed to cure the gel manicure is a risk factor for skin cancer. In addition, photo damage from UV lamps could result in cosmetic changes to the exposed surrounding skin,” says Dr. Chris Adigun, assistant professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City.
-Dr. Oz said that the “harsh solution” in which nails are soaked off “can cause nails to weaken, and in some cases spur an eczema-like rash on the skin around the nails.”
In response, industry experts provide proven research to the claims made about harmful UV exposure.
-UV exposure is a measurement of both UV-A and UV-B radiation and how much light falls upon each and every square centimeter of skin. UV exposure is not the same as UV bulb wattage. Be wary of how UV bulb “wattage” is used in the language of media, since some authors commonly mistaken the wattage to actual amount of UV exposure to the skin. (Doug Schoon, Paul Bryson, Jim McConnell, Do UV Nail Lamps Emit Unsafe Levels of Ultraviolet Light? August 2010, SchoonScientific.com)
-UV-B is considered by many to be more potentially damaging to skin than UV-A, which is why nail lamps rely on special UV bulbs that contain internal coatings designed to filter out most of the UV-B light. (Doug Schoon, Paul Bryson, Jim McConnell, Do UV Nail Lamps Emit Unsafe Levels of Ultraviolet Light? August 2010, SchoonScientific.com)
-Nail thinning is commonly caused by “improper over filing during application and incorrect removal procedures, not the chemicals.” (via Facebook.com/Doug.Schoon)
-Researchers found that a salon client would need approximately 250 years of weekly manicures that involve the use of UV nail lights to develop the same risk of exposure as one round of phototherapy sessions used to treat various skin conditions—in other words, nail lamps do not significantly increase the risk of getting skin cancer. (Professional Beauty Association, New Study Finds UV Nail Lamps Do Not Cause Cancer, January 4, 2013)
Get all the facts you need to respond to any client’s concern in the July/August issue.