Entries in UV (6)


10 Tips to Keep Your Gel Manicure Safe

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Gel manicures are known for shining brighter and lasting longer than a regular manicure, lasting as long as two weeks without a crack.  But can the special process that gives your nails their patent leather gleam also be harmful to your health?

The gel manicure process requires four or five coats of polish, with each layer followed by a finish under a UV light -- a similar light to those used in tanning beds, only far weaker.

Some dermatologists warn the typical five- to 10-minute exposure to the light during a gel manicure could be harmful.  A 2009 article in the Archives of Dermatology concluded that “further investigation” was warranted to see if the UV nail lamps can cause cancer.

A nail-industry sponsored study conducted at the Lighting Sciences Inc., an independent lab in Scottsdale, Ariz., found that getting a gel manicure every two weeks is equivalent to spending an extra two minutes in the sun every day.

Just as dermatologists have long advocated wearing sunscreen on a daily basis, they now also recommend wearing sunscreen on your hands when you go for a gel manicure.

Nail drying lights emit UV-A rays and not all sunscreens protect against those.  That’s why dermatologists say you should be sure to apply a “broad spectrum” sunscreen that protects against both UV-A and UV-B rays before any manicure.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says sunscreens with the following ingredients provide broad spectrum protection: Avobenzone, cinoxate, ecamsule, menthyl anthranilate, octyl methoxycinnamate, octyl salicylate, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

Here are 10 warning signs to look for when getting a gel manicure -- or any manicure -- according to the Professional Beauty Association:

1. Your salon uses bottles in unmarked containers.
2. The products smell unusually strong or have a strange odor.
3. Your skin is abraded or cut during the procedure.
4. The instruments used on you are not sterilized.
5. Your skin or nails hurt during or after the nail service.
6. The technician cannot tell you what is in the products.
7. The salon is not clean.
8. Licenses for the salon and individual operators are not visibly posted
9. You see swelling, redness or other signs of infection around your nails.
10. You are not asked to wash your hand and you do not see the nail technician wash his/her own hands before the nail service.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Do UV Nail Dryers Pose a Skin Cancer Risk?

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After getting a manicure at a nail salon, many people in a rush opt to use an ultraviolet nail dryer -- a shortcut that exposes hands to the same skin-damaging UV rays emitted by the sun and tanning beds.  Although the intensity is much less than that of a tanning bed, some experts say enough exposure over time could increase the risk of skin cancer.

"Ultraviolet exposure is cumulative," said Dr. Darrell Rigel, clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center.  "Like a meter in a taxicab, it only goes forward.  And the faster you go, the faster the meter goes."

Chronic, low-level UV exposure can cause basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma -- the most common forms of skin cancer often seen in people who spend a lot of time outside.  When spotted early, the cancers are easy to treat, unlike melanoma -- a rare skin cancer caused by acute high-level UV exposure, also known as sunburn.

"You could keep you hands in a UV nail dryer for an hour and not get a sunburn," said Rigel.  "But it's still UV exposure, and you want to minimize that as much as you can."

A 2009 report published in Archives of Dermatology detailed two cases of non-melanoma skin cancer on the hands of women who frequented the nail salon -- a 55-year-old with a 15-year history of twice-monthly appointments and a 48-year-old who went eight times in one year several years before her diagnosis.  Both women had cancer on the backs of their fingers, leading the report authors to suspect UV nail lamps as a possible trigger.

UV nail dryers are most often used to "cure" gel nails, but they're also used to harden some acrylic nails and traditional polishes.  A standard dryer has four nine-watt bulbs emitting a small fraction of the skin damaging UV rays of a 60 200-watt bulb tanning bed.  But for nail salon regulars or people who have UV dryers at home, the exposure can add up.

"…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," Dr. Roshini Raj, assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, wrote in her book, What the Yuck?! The Freaky and Fabulous Truth About Your Body.  "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 2011 ABC News Radio


Sunscreen Pill from Aussie Reef Coral?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Tropical coral from Australia's Great Barrier Reef contains natural UV blockers that might one day come in a pill that protects our eyes and skin from the sun's ravages, researchers say.

But don't toss your high-SPF lotions and creams yet. If all goes as planned, a tablet that would protect people from damaging ultraviolet radiation is probably about five years away, said Paul Long, a senior lecturer in pharmaceutical science at King's College London.

Long leads a three-year research project, financed by the British government, focused on sun-shielding compounds in Acropora microphthalma coral. He and his fellow researchers have been trying to unravel the biochemical secrets of these chemicals, extracted from coral samples gathered during night dives.

"What we have found is that the algae living within the coral makes a compound that we think is transported to the coral, which then modifies it into a sunscreen for the benefit of both the coral and the algae," Long said in a statement from King's College, which issued a news release about the research. "Not only does this protect them both from UV damage, but we have seen that fish that feed on the coral also benefit from this sunscreen protection, so it is clearly passed up the food chain."

Because Acropora microphthalma coral is endangered, the scientists first must create a synthetic version of the coral compounds, which could be tested on human skin samples. Long has suggested scientists might find a ready supply in excess skin discarded by plastic surgeons after tummy tucks. Only after scientists learn how the compound affects skin cells could they then begin developing a pill that would protect skin throughout the body, as well as the eyes, which also are sensitive to the effects of UV light.

Long and his colleagues began thinking a pill might work based upon observations of small fish eating coral, "like Nemo" in the animated movie Finding Nemo, "and then larger fish would eat the smaller fish, so these compounds pass up the food chain."

One important consideration for researchers involves determining how the compounds' UV-blocking properties might interfere with the body's production of Vitamin D, often called the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D comes either from exposure to sunlight, or from dietary supplements.

A pill based on coral's natural UV blockers wouldn't be the first sunscreen pill to offer protection from the inside out. A dietary supplement called Heliocare contains green tea, beta-carotene and Polypodium leucotomos, a tropical fern extract long used for psoriasis and eczema. However, dermatologists say its skin-protective antioxidants don't take the place of topical sunscreens, but may make the sun less vulnerable to UV damage. A bottle of 60 Heliocare pills runs about $50.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FDA Adds Stricter Labels to Sunscreen

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- New sunscreen labels will include a rating system to show how well the product protects users against Ultraviolet A (UVA) light, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.

The agency's latest regulation recommends that sunscreen labeling be expanded to provide a four-star rating system that informs consumers how well the product protects them against UVA light.

Sunscreen labels are already required to carry a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) level that informs users how well the product protects against UVB light, which primarily causes sunburn.  Enhanced labeling will focus on UVA light, which is potentially more damaging because it penetrates the skin further than UVB and causes the skin to tan.

Both kinds of UV light contribute to skin damage, including premature skin aging and skin cancer.

The agency is also looking to change the maximum sunburn protection level from its recommended SPF 30 to SPF 50.

The new UVA star rating will be displayed next to the SPF ratings.  One star will mean low UVA protection, while four stars ensure the highest level of protection.

The label will also include ways that people can protect themselves from sun overexposure, such as limiting time in the sun and wearing protective clothing. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Consumer Reports' Releases Its Top Picks for Sunscreen

Comstock/Thinkstock(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- Just in time for the start of the beachgoing season this Memorial Day weekend, Consumer Reports released its top picks for sunscreens Tuesday.

After testing 22 sprays, creams, and lotions, the magazine identified nine sunscreens that offered "Excellent" protection from sunburn-causing UVB rays and "Very Good" protection from UVA rays, which cause the skin to tan and age.  Three were designated "Best Buys:" Target's Up & Up Sport SPF 30, No-Ad with Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45, and Equate Baby SPF 50.

Out of the top three picks, one -- Target's Up & Up Sport SPF 30 -- is a spray.  In fact, Jamie Hersh, a senior editor for Consumer Reports, says "a lot of our top rated ones this time around are sprays."

Hersh says that while sprays aren't necessarily better than lotions, they're just as good.

"The important thing with the spray is making sure that you apply it properly and that you get enough of it on," he says.

He also advises consumers to watch out for a key ingredient: Retinyl palmitate.  Hersh says "it is an antioxidant and animal studies have actually linked it to an increased risk of skin cancer."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pollution Doubles Skin Damage from Sun

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SKILLMAN, N.J.) - A new study shows that skin damage from the sun is made worse by exposure to pollution, reports WebMD.

According to researchers from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, pollution found in urban environments can double skin damage caused by sun exposure.

"The AAD already advises people to use extra sun protection near water, snow, and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun that can increase your chance of sunburn," said Darrell Rigel, former AAD president and clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center in New York City. "It could be that people who live in polluted areas also need extra sun protection, though that remains to be tested."

Lab tests showed that skin damaged by UV radiation showed additional signs of premature aging when exposed to additional stressors such as cigarette smoke, high heat, low temperatures, high winds and ozone.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio