Thanks to an article published by ELLE earlier today, we’ve discovered that our manicures have the potential to be a little dangerous. No, it’s not the cuticle cutting or the gel polish that you get bi-weekly — it’s the salon dryers that are the danger.

We’re talking about those toasty little hand ovens you use after getting your nails done. Y’know, the ones with that cool, purple UV light that hardens the polish in minutes so you’re free to go about your day worry-free? As it turns out, the UV light emits different levels of radiation that can result in skin damage. Yeah, we know. We’re a little freaked out, too. And, as reported in The Times, a new study shows that the risky damage can begin in as little as eight visits to the salon.

There have been case reports of two women who have supposedly developed squamous cell skin cancers on their hands that suggest the UV nail lights are connected to cancer. But before you start second-guessing that manicure appointment you’ve made for this weekend, know that most doctors have agreed that the risk is low.

manicure uv cancer

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The new study was done by researchers from Georgia Regents University in Augusta and involved a random sampling of 17 UV nail lamps from various salons. The results showed that the amount of ultraviolet exposure remained in the range of barely there to significant, but these few visits never came close to something extremely dangerous. However, the risk that would result from numerous manicure visits was untested, but the study suggested that, even then, the chance of carcinogenesis is small.

If any chance at all still makes you feel anxious about getting a manicure or pedicure, don’t worry — you won’t have to completely forgo all future trips to the nail salon. Instead, The Times advises to skip the lotion-and-massage- portion of the manicure and opt for applying sunscreen to your hands before having the gel polish applied. Or, to slide on some UV-protective gloves with the fingertips cut off so that only your nails are in the light. And if you’re not a fan of gel manicures anyway, you have it much easier. Instead of drying at the stations, you can use a regular fan, air-dry (if you’re super careful), or just do your own DIY manicure! Whichever way you choose, you’ll be smart to take the precautions against these potential risks.

To find out more about the new study and what the doctors have to say about all of this, read the original article on The Times.

Will you still use the UV nail lamps?

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