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What the Yuck: Do nail dryers cause cancer?
It's better to let your nails air dry, health writer Roshini Raj says.
September 16th, 2011
09:35 AM ET

What the Yuck: Do nail dryers cause cancer?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

What's up with those UV-light dryers at the nail salon? Could they make you wrinkle faster? Or even give you skin cancer?

Those UV-light dryers are like tiny tanning beds, so you're right to be concerned. While this danger hasn't been looked at in any large-scale studies, dermatologists report finding more skin cancer on the fingers (typically a very rare location) of patients who have frequent exposure to these nail-drying lights.

In fact, a recent report in Archives of Dermatology said that using them may be a risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Also, we know that UV light increases your risk of cancer (and wrinkles), and if you're going to the nail salon every two weeks (or weekly), that will add up to significant exposure.

My two cents? Use them sparingly, or, better yet, let your nails dry on their own. It may take a bit longer, but it's worth the effort to save your skin.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.