Light Fright - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Light Fright

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WSVN -- For years Sheila has done everything she can to prevent getting skin cancer.

Sheila Duffy-Lehrman: "For someone like me, who has very fair skin I never go out in the sun."

But she just found out she's getting harmful ultra-violet rays from an unlikely place, her nail salon.

Sheila Duffy-Lehrman: "It's really scary."

Sheila regularly gets gel nails applied at the salon, which requires baking her fingers under a blue light to set the nails.

Sheila Duffy-Lehrman: "In my salon, I'll look around and we're all under the blue light, our hands and our feet."

These UV lamps and boxes are popular at nail salons because they help dry or harden nails quickly, but doctors are now warning you could be putting your hands and feet in danger of skin cancer. They say the wavelengths used in those lamps are the same ones used in tanning bed bulbs.

Dr. Melissa Lazarus: "Basically those little boxes are tanning beds for your hands. You stick them in there, you expose them to UV radiation, which is completely unsafe. It's become so clear to us now that tanning beds cause skin cancer."

Doctors say hands are a common area for skin cancer because they're always exposed. Add on a weekly or monthly manicure under these lights and it could mean trouble.

Dr. Melissa Lazarus: "What we know about skin cancer is that it's cumulative over time. It may just be a few minutes a week, or every two weeks, but that adds up over time."

But if you don't want to give up getting your nails done pack some protection.

Dr. Melissa Lazarus: "I suggest they put on sunscreen on their hands and the most important thing it's a UVA protective sunblock."

Vaso Spirou: "We are super concerned about it. It's something we're really paying very close attention to make sure this is something our clients never have to worry about."

Salon owner Vaso Spirou is now taking extra measures to make sure her nail clients are safe.

Vaso Spirou: "We're using the best SPF 30 sunscreen on the hands. Lathering that up and that's something they're going to have to do when they use this process that requires the blue light."

As for Sheila, she says she won't stop pampering her hands, but she has nailed down a safer solution.

Sheila Duffy-Lehrman: "I'm going to be in the chair under the blue light, but this time I'm bringing my sunscreen."

Lynn Martinez: " Doctors also recommend just drying your nails with a fan."

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