Dr. Marcy Street, a board certified Mayo Clinic-trained dermatologist, is speaking out about the harmful effects of UV radiation emitted from nail dryers used in most American salons. As with tanning beds, the rays from nail dryers can be harmful to skin of all colors and may increase the risk of acquiring cancer, she said.

‘The nail drying lights emit UVA rays, which can penetrate the skin much more deeply,” said Street, who is the first African-American Mohs (skin cancer surgeon) in the country. ‘These lights are considered as dangerous as tanning beds when it comes to the skin. The problem is that not enough has been done to educate the public about them because they are only thought of as dryers for nail polish.”

A 2009 study by the Archives of Dermatology found that two cases of healthy middle-aged women without family histories of skin cancer developed non-melanoma skin cancers on their hands. The report also linked the cancers to UV nail lights.

Street says one way to avoid the potentially harmful rays emitted by these lights is to allow the nails to dry on their own. ‘The potential danger these lights can have on the skin can be very serious and should be avoided whenever possible.’