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New skin cancer threat: Manicures

Kristen Fischer is a writer living at the Jersey Shore. In addition to writing for SheKnows, she has penned articles for Prevention, Health, Woman's Day, BELLA, and New Jersey Monthly. Kristen enjoys spending time with her family, friend...

It's Melanoma Monday

Could your manicure put you at risk for skin cancer? A new study finds manicure drying lights could be a culprit.
Nails drying at a salon
Photo credit: YinYang/iStock/360/Getty Images

Today is Melanoma Monday… the perfect time to give your skin a once-over in an effort to spot any potential skin cancers. It’s also a good day to be aware of a potential new skin cancer threat: nail salon dryers.

That’s right, ladies. That little wonder light that turns your new shade of Essie into dried perfection could be doing you more harm than good. These lights are common to dry popular gel manicures, and usually require your hands to be exposed for about 10 minutes.

A recent study published in JAMA Dermatology says that nail salon dryers emit radiation, which could cause skin damage. The lights give off ultraviolet light, which makes polish and gel dry more quickly.

Researchers from Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia, looked at 17 different UV lamps and found that they give off varying doses of UVA light. While the researcher say that the risk of developing squamous cell skin cancer from the lamps is low, they admit that the risk from multiple visits — such as changing your nail color more often in the warmer months — is not yet tested.

We don’t want to scare you, but it’s worth knowing. In fact, the lights on their own don’t give off enough to produce cancer. But if you visit the salon eight to 14 times over a few years, you could be at risk for DNA damage to your skin.

So, do you need to skip manicures completely? Perhaps don’t go as often, or use the waiting room to let nails dry naturally more times than never.

Melanoma Monday

The threat of melanoma is nothing new, but the American Academy of Dermatology wants to encourage more people to detect this deadly disease.

Known as the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma kills one person every hour on average. About 9,710 people are expected to die from melanoma this year. It’s common in young adults, too, so encourage the younger women in your life to take a peek at their skin for any suspicious moles.

Look for anything that is asymmetrical, has a border, varies in color, is wider than a pencil eraser or has grown over time. If you see anything suspicious, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist or visit a skin cancer screening near you.

Style up summer with sun-friendly clothing

We all have heard the message about wearing sunscreen. In addition to applying your favorite lotion or spray, SPF clothing can be handy in helping to block rays. It’s so common nowadays — and quite fashion-forward, too.

Coolibar, a sun protective clothing brand, features a complete line of stylish sun-safe clothing for men, women and children. Other brands such as Athleta and Solumbra also offer stylish clothing — not just bathing suits — that have superior sun protection capabilities.

What about protecting your eyes from the sun? Sunglasses just look cute — so pick a pair that speaks to you and don them every chance you get.

More on skin care

8 Ways your skin care should change this spring
Sensitive skin problems and how to solve them
Your guide to skin care in the sun

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