UV-emitting nail polish dryers damage DNA causing mutations in cells

February 15, 2023 | Biotechnology

Experts from the University of California San Diego have examined ultraviolet light emitting devices, particularly ultraviolet nail polish drying devices used to cure gel manicures. They discovered that their use leads to cell death and cancer-causing mutations in human cells, posing as a threat than what was previously thought.

While studies have reached to conclusions that tanning beds are carcinogenic, the spectrum used in nail dryers haven’t been well studied. Ludmil Alexandrov, professor at UC San Diego, showed his concern on the way these devices are presented and are marketed safe with zero molecular understanding on how it affects human cells.

In the study, researchers used adult human skin keratinocytes, human foreskin fibroblasts, and mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Findings showed that the use of these UV emitting devices for 20 minutes resulted in 20 to 30 percent cell death while three consecutive 20-minute exposures tripled the cell death. 

Odoo text and image block
Odoo text and image block

The researchers noted how UV light from these devices cause mitochondrial dysfunction and DNA damage, leading to mutations with exact same patterns that are observable with patients that have skin cancer that were seen in irradiated cells.

Nevertheless, future large-scale epidemiological studies would be needed to quantify any increased possibility for cancer at what frequency of use. Findings are clear that chronic use of these nail polish drying machines is damaging to human cells. Researchers suggested that with many alternatives to this cosmetic procedure, the risk may not be worth the reward for consumers. 

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