Are UV Nail Lights Safe? We Asked the Experts!

At Cole’s, we take safety and sanitation very seriously. We proudly provide nail services from simple nail maintenance to reflexology pedicures to detailed artificial nails. With all our services you have the option to have our longer-lasting polish option—gel polish. Gel polish dries (or cures) under a UV light, a process that’s often called into question in regards to its safety. And when it comes to safety in our salon, we trust the scientific insight from Doug Schoon, an internationally renowned scientist, author, and educator with more than 30 years of experience in the cosmetic, beauty, and personal care industry, including serving as an expert in legal cases and counseling doctors, dermatologists, and podiatrists.

Doug regularly provides us with the best information regarding nail health, chemicals, and equipment we use every day in our industry. Here’s what Doug and the research have to say about UV light safety:

UV nail lamps have a long history of safe use and have been widely used in salons for more than 30 years. Two scientific studies have confirmed that both traditional and LED-style UV nail lamps are safe for use in salons. More specifically:

The first study was previously outlined in a Nail Manufacturers Council (NMC) brochure entitled, “Do UV Nail Lamps Emit Unsafe Levels of Ultraviolet Light?” In that study, Lighting Sciences, Inc. based in Phoenix, Arizona, tested two widely used UV nail lamps and determined that UVB output from these lamps was less than that found in natural sunlight. UVA exposures were found to be equivalent to spending an extra 1.5 to 2.7 minutes in sunlight each day between salon visits, or an extra 10 to 20 minutes outdoors once per week. 

A second study was conducted by two scientists specializing in UV effects on the skin: Dr. Robert Sayre, inventor of the SPF rating system for sunscreen, and his associate Dr. John Dowdy with the Rapid Precision Testing Labs in Cordova, Tennessee. After extensively studying many types of traditional and LED UV nail lamps, they discovered that exposure resulting from regular salon use of UV nail lamps is equivalent to receiving between 0.5% to 2.2% of the permissible monthly UV exposure defined by internationally accepted standards. This narrow range suggests that there is little difference in UV exposure between traditional and LED-style UV nail lamps.

It is also important to note that the back of the hand is the least UV-sensitive part of the body, four times more UV-resistant than the forehead or cheek. After considering all of these facts, including the relatively low level of UV released by nail lamps, Dr. Sayre concluded, “UV nail lamps are safer than natural sunlight or sunlamps… and properly belong in the least risky of all categories.” 

We want all our guests to feel amazing when they leave our chairs, with the piece of mind that their nail tech has the proper training and knowledge to do a service safely. If you have questions, please ask your nail tech!

For additional information on the safety of nail lights, you can read more from Doug Schoon.

Sarah B. is an advanced nail technician at our Burnsville location. Follow her on Instagram @sarah.b.101

Ready to book a nail service with us? Consider reflexology and the benefits of a mani-pedi, then book today. We’re also hiring nail technicians at all our locations if you or someone you know is interested in joining our incredible, expert team!



Sarah Burns

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