Understanding UV Nail Lamps Traditional and LED Style

“Two styles of UV nail lamps are used in salons to cure UV nail products; Traditional and LED.   Although these nail lamps use different types of bulbs, both types emit UV and can quickly harden UV curable artificial nail coatings. The bulbs used in traditional UV nail lamps are “fluorescent tubes,” while the bulbs used in newer LED style UV nail lamps are called “Light Emitting Diodes” or LED for short.


Ultra-violet (UV) is divided into three main categories; UVA, UVB and UVC. Each of these categories defines a broad range of UV “wavelengths” found in sunlight.  Only a small fraction of the many UV wavelengths in natural sunlight are useful to cure artificial nail coatings. UV nail bulbs are specially designed to emit UVA, with very little or no UVB and never any amounts of UVC. Artificial nail coatings are specially formulated to cure (polymerize) using relatively low levels of UVA, much less than what is needed to tan skin. The UVA band consists of 85 different wavelengths, not all of these are useful for proper curing of UV curable artificial nails. These wavelengths have the lowest energy of any type of UV and therefore are considered safer for skin exposure, especially in cases of brief and/or infrequent, low level exposures, as is the practice with salon services.


A UV curable nail product formulation determines which UVA wavelengths are most important for proper curing and this can vary widely between various products.  If a UV nail lamp does not match the curing requirements of a particular UV nail product, then either over or under curing becomes more likely.  Proper curing requires exposing the UV curable coating to the correct wavelengths at the right intensities and for the proper length of time.  For example, if a UV nail lamp doesn’t produce sufficient intensities of wavelengths needed to properly cure a specific formula, the result will be “under curing.”  It is important to note that UV nail coatings can solidify or harden even when they are significantly under cured; therefore solidification does not ensure the UV coating is properly cured.  Over curing can also result in service breakdown and may cause heat spikes that can burn sensitive tissues of the nail bed and lead to onycho-lysis (separation of the nail plate from the bed).  Improper curing of nail coatings may result in service breakdown and can increase the potential for adverse skin reactions.


LED style nail lamps have higher intensities of the UVA wavelengths most important to curing, so they can provide faster curing times which can lead to over curing of formulations…”   To read the rest of the brochure – click here!