Media Watch: Drexel Dermatologist on Nail Salon Dangers


If you’ve ever wondered whether your monthly gel manicure could lead to skin cancer, a Drexel University dermatologist has good news.

“If your skin isn’t changing color or turning red, the amount [of UV-A light] you’re getting is probably very, very little,” Christina L. Chung, MD, an associate professor in the College of Medicine, told The Atlantic in a story published this week.

The truth is that heavy exposure to UV radiation could increase your risk for cancer, but such a low dose for only 10 or so minutes probably won’t make much of a difference, according to Chung.

Still, if cosmetics are your concern, gel manicures can cause signs of premature aging. Here’s what she advises for your next trip to the nail salon:

  • Skip cuticle cutting, which protect the skin around your nails from bacteria
  • Bring your own tools if you’re worried about hygiene
  • Wear gloves with the fingertips chopped off, and/or apply dust-on powder sunscreens

What is more harmful to your skin than a trip to the salon? Sun exposure! So make sure to protect yourself this summer.

Chung’s research focuses on educating all patients about the dangers of skin cancer — regardless of their race or skin tone. Her most recent study found that African-American, Asian and Hispanic organ transplant recipients are especially at risk, and these groups require unique, specialized dermatological care following their procedure.

For media inquiries, contact Lauren Ingeno at or 215.895.2614.

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