Straight Talk

Recently I gave a presentation on UV nail lamps to a large group of scientists and engineers who specialize in using UV to cure all types of products. Everything from Italian lacquer wood, dental and medical prosthetics to DVDs, newspaper ink and flooring; you would be amazed at how many diverse applications exist for UV curing.


This group of UV experts was interested in learning about UV nail products and lamps, so they invited me to speak. Also invited was Dr. Robert Sayre, an internationally known scientific expert on the effects of UV on human skin and inventor of the SPF rating system for sunscreen products. Dr. Sayre actively researches the effects of UV on skin and eyes and has tested many widely sold brands of UV nail lamps, including LED lamps.

Dr. Sayre’s presentation and mine were both in complete agreement that UV nail lamps are safe as used, when used appropriately and in accordance with all manufacturers’ instructions.

Here is an overview of our

  • UV nail lamps are safer than natural sunlight or sunlamps.
  • UV nail lamps properly belongs in the least risky of all categories.
  • UV nail lamps used in salons have a UVA bulb that is vastly different from anything used for indoor tanning.
  • Physicians are grossly exaggerating exposures and safety questions raised about UV nail lamps were successfully addressed by two independently performed laboratory studies.
  • The most comprehensive study was performed by two internationally known scientists, Dr. Sayre and Dr. Dowdy.
  • Drs. Sayre and Dowdy determined that UV nail lamps are nothing like tanning beds.  Both the lamps and UV levels are different. UV nail lamps produce far less UV light with different ranges of wavelengths than tanning beds, so they are NOT equivalent.
  • Skin is never burned or tanned, even with regular use of UV nail lamps.
  • Services are performed once every two or three weeks, with each hand exposed for a total of 6 to 10 minutes.
  • UVB output is far less than natural sunlight exposure.
  • Twice monthly, UV nail services compares to adding about 2 minutes of natural sunlight exposure each day.
  • Testing by Sayre and Dowdy shows that the proper category for UV nail lamps is: “No hazard with 16.6 minutes of exposure.”
  • Client’s can expect there will be no hazard to skin when exposed continuously for 16 minutes.  Typically client exposure is less than 10 minutes and not continuously, over several shorter intervals.
  • No risks to the eyes is expected from UV nail lamps under normal conditions of use.
  • If clients are still concerned they can wear SPF 15+ broad-spectrum sunscreen or cover the hand with white cloth to eliminate exposure.
  • Sayre, Dowdy and Schoon agree- the scientific evidence demonstrates that all types of UV nail lamps are safe as used when used appropriately and in accordance with all manufacturers’ instructions.