In a work published by American researchers in the journal Nature In January 2023, a group of scientists found that irradiation from a UV nail polish dryer causes high levels of reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial dysfunction.

These effects increase the chances of getting melanoma, one of the most metastatic forms of cancer. Although the experiments were carried out in cell cultures, they are representative of what can occur in human skin, it highlights the UNQ Science News Agencyquoted by Page 12.

Resistant enamel… at what price?

Nowadays, jobs are carried out to show off impeccable nails with very original designs that include flowers or more complex drawings. However, any simple task, such as washing the dishes, compromises the integrity and damages the enamels.

In recent years, gel-based enamels have been developed: they have a series of monomers (like small links in a chain) that, when they dry, form a polymer and harden, making them more resistant. The problem is that this drying implies the use of ultraviolet light lamps.

Ultraviolet (UV) light is a type of electromagnetic radiation. Much of these rays are blocked by the ozone layer, in fact, only those that reach the earth’s surface can be classified based on their effect on human skin.

Ultraviolet B (UVB) light makes up about 10 percent of the UV radiation found on Earth, penetrating the outer layer of the skin and inducing DNA damage. In contrast, ultraviolet A (UVA) light makes up the remaining 90 percent, can penetrate the skin deeper, and causes little direct damage to DNA since UVA rays are poorly absorbed by this macromolecule.

Adverse effects

UVA radiation is not without its adverse effects: Most of the environmental toxicity of UVA rays has been attributed to the use of commercial products, such as tanning booths. After prolonged exposure to UVA, skin cells are more likely to develop carcinoma.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified UVA rays as carcinogens. Despite this caveat, however, UVA radiation is widely used in consumer products such as nail polish dryers.

It should be noted that, in most cases, both the nails and the hands are irradiated for up to 10 minutes per session. Typically, users come in to change their polish or touch it up every two weeks. The accounts are clear.

To be beautiful…

In the article published in the journal Nature, the scientists studied the effects of nail dryers on cell lines, some derived from human tissue and others from animals. Among the reported effects, scientists speak of reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial damage.

Mitochondria are found inside cells and their mission is to produce energy to carry out metabolism. When the mitochondria are defective, the cells do not have enough energy.

To this we must add that mutations were found in the DNA. As an additional fact, since this macromolecule has a limited ability to repair errors, the variants accumulate over time.

This results in increased chances of contracting cancer, in this case of the skin, since it is the most affected organ. And not just any cancer: melanoma is one of the forms of cancer with the highest incidence of metastasis.


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