UV nail polish dryers linked to cancer-causing cell mutations

UV nail polish dryers linked to cancer-causing cell mutations

When getting a manicure, most of us are most concerned about what colour nail polish to choose than the type of dryer used.

Yet, it may be worth paying attention during your next visit to a salon as scientists have reported that ultraviolet (UV) nail polish drying devices used to cure gel manicures may pose more of a public health concern than previously thought.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego studied the devices and found that their use leads to cell death and potentially cancer-causing mutations in human cells.

After studying three cell types, they found that the use of these UV-emitting devices for just one 20-minute session leads to between 20 and 30 per cent cell death, while three consecutive 20-minute exposures caused between 65 and 70 per cent of the exposed cells to die.

"Exposure to the UV light also caused mitochondrial and DNA damage in the remaining cells and resulted in mutations with patterns that can be observed in skin cancer in humans," the authors commented.

While the team cautioned that a long-term study would be required to conclusively show that these devices lead to an increased risk of skin cancers, they insisted "chronic use" of the nail polish drying machines is "damaging to human cells".

"We saw multiple things: first, we saw that DNA gets damaged," said bioengineering professor Ludmil Alexandrov. "We also saw that some of the DNA damage does not get repaired over time, and it does lead to mutations after every exposure with a UV-nail polish dryer. Lastly, we saw that exposure may cause mitochondrial dysfunction, which may also result in additional mutations. We looked at patients with skin cancers, and we see the exact same patterns of mutations in these patients that were seen in the irradiated cells."

Full study results were published in Nature Communications.