Consumer Alert: Cancer-causing manicures? A study examines the risks of gel manicures.

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. Our consumer alert takes a look at your nails. A new study may make you think twice before your next manicure.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, looked at the possible dangers of gel manicures.

It’s not the nail polish itself. It’s the UV lamp used to dry gel polish. A lot of folks prefer gel manicures. They look great. They last longer, and under that UV lamp, they dry faster. But a new study reveals all that glam may come at a cost greater than money.

Researchers found that chronic use of UV lamps causes cell damage that can lead to cancer. Researchers with the University of California San Diego and the University of Pittsburgh found that one 20-minute session under a UV lamp caused 20 to 30 percent of cells to die. Three consecutive sessions killed 65 to 70 percent. And some of the cells that survived had DNA damage. While the FDA says if used correctly, the lamps are low risk, it advises you to lower exposure.

 So with the help of the FDA, here’s Deanna’s Do list for reducing your risk when getting a gel manicure:

  • Wash your hands to remove any lotions or fragrances because some can make you more sensitive to UV rays.
  • Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher on your hands.
  • Wear UV-absorbing gloves that expose only your nails.
  • Always follow the directions for your UV nail dryer carefully.
  • Never use the lamps for longer than 10 minutes per hand per session.

You can find those several different UV-absorbing gloves on Amazon There have been frequent stories over the years about people who get manicures as frequently as every two weeks getting rare types of skin cancer on their hands. 

Dermatologists have suspected that the UV lamps were the cause, and this study would appear to support that. And while one of the study’s researchers told National Public Radio she has completely stopped using UV lamps to dry her nails, she says more research must be done on this issue.