UV lamps for varnishes could potentially cause cancer: what do doctors think? | Health & well-being

We told you about it earlier this week. A recent experimental study suggests that UV lamps, used to dry semi-permanent or gel varnishes, could potentially cause cancer, and even damage DNA. But should we really be worried? Our colleagues from Het Laatste Nieuws have collected the opinion of dermatologists. “You have to use it wisely,” they say.

Are manicures, gel or semi-permanent, as harmless as they look? Very popular in recent years, they have been the subject of an experimental study, which warns of the potential dangers they represent. According to the conclusions of the University of California at the origin of this research, the use of these lamps would lead to the death of cells as well as carcinogenic mutations.

But how bad is it for our skin? Dr. Annelies Stockman, dermatologist at AZ Delta, does not hide it: “Any prolonged exposure to UV rays can have long-term adverse effects.” But she thinks the assumption that one can have immediate harmful effects after just one use is unwarranted.

“There must be an accumulation of these UV rays for years, and this combined with age and/or taking medication. You can then suffer from skin aging or skin cancer,” she continues. That makes sense, says Dr. Stockman: “We all age, and skin over the age of 60, for example, is less able to withstand UV exposure.”

Sunscreen and in moderation

In addition, nail technicians only use “a short-term dose of UV radiation during such treatment”, emphasizes Dr. Annelies Stockman. This is confirmed by Yannick Bogaert of Jonc Nail Studio in Bruges, who has 20 years of experience in the profession. “It is true that we use a UV light LED lamp to dry the gel nails. During the treatment, the entire hand passes under the device with blue UV light for a maximum of ten minutes. No more than that. We recommend repeating this generally every four weeks.”

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So can this accumulation of UV rays lead to dangerous skin diseases? “No, it’s almost impossible,” concludes Dr Annelies Stockman, “and certainly not after a one-time visit to a nail bar. Otherwise, you could get skin cancer after just one day of sunbathing by the sea, and luckily you don’t.”


“As long as you don’t overexpose yourself to it, the damage is largely limited.”

Dr. Linda Temmerman

Dr. Linda Temmerman, dermatologist at AZ Maria Middelares, also agrees. “UV rays aren’t super harmful if you use them sensibly. So, as long as you don’t overexpose yourself to it, the damage is largely limited.”

Do you do a manicure every 15 days? Ask yourself the following question: how sensitive are you to the sun? What is your skin type? Do you have pale skin and blue eyes? Do you burn easily? Do you take medication? “I would advise against having your nails done fortnightly for years,” insists Dr. Temmermans. “Because in this case, there is a chance that you will still have adverse effects over time and develop skin cancer.”

Anyway, it’s quite exceptional, she reassures. A golden advice from dermatologists: before your session, coat your hands with sunscreen. You will be better protected against exposure to UV rays.


Beware of UV lamps that dry the varnish: they could cause cancer and damage DNA

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