Morsani College of Medicine

Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery

Nail Salon Dryers Increase Risk for Skin Cancer

Link to news piece:

Tampa, Fla – Most of you probably know a lady who gets her nails done and uses the nail dryer in the salon. But did you know medical experts believe those nail dryers may increase your risk of skin cancer?

Jane Boccieri plays golf 3 times a week. Despite wearing a hat, suncglasses and golf gloves, Boccieri is constantly battling skin lesions that have turned into skin cancer. “It will start like a pimple and it will hurt to the touch and it grows quite quickly.”

And if left untreated, it can kill you.

“I can remember saying this is self inflicted,” said Boccieri, like many of us, a sun worshipper.

But too much sun is not the only way to get skin cancer. “There are also other sources of exposure to ultraviolet radiation, such as tanning beds, sunlights and UV nail dryers,” said Doctor Basil Cherpelis, with the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Yes, those small boxes used to quickly dry nail polish are the latest to make news as a potential cancer risk. A study last year in the Archives of Dermatology found two cases of healthy middle-aged women without family histories of skin cancer developed non melanoma skin cancers on their hands.

Cherpelis said “The most common type of skin cancer that occurs on the hands is squamous cell carcinoma. It begins as a red scaly rough patch and progressed into a bump that can bleed.”

Georgeann Klecan has been getting her nails done with UV lights for ten years. She said “I don’t think it will” cause skin cancer.

And Helena Nguyen, who works at Tampa’s Tips and Toes says she’s been doing nails “more than 15 years, and we’ve never had any problems.”

Doctors just want consumers to be aware of the very real risks. “The United States Department of Health and Human Services has classified ultraviolet light as a carcinogen or cancer causing agent. Repeat exposure over a long period of time could increase your risk of developing skin cancer.”

Cherpelis says a typical treatment for skin cancer on the hands is surgical removal under local anesthetic in a dermatologist’s office.

If left untreated the cancer could spread to other parts of your body and eventually lead to death.