LED VS UV Nail Lamps: Which One Is More Dangerous?

There have been a lot of discussions centered around UV and LED nail lamps lately. People who get their nails done frequently aren’t quite sure if these lamps can and are causing cancer. We took some time to find out if there was a difference between these lamps to perhaps, set some of our readers who use these minds at ease. Here we have some details that will give some insight as to how these materials work.

According to Salon Direct, the difference between an LED and a UV lamp is based on the type of radiation the bulb emits. Gel nail polish contains photoinitiators, a chemical that requires direct UV wavelengths to be hardened or ‘cured’. This process is called a ‘photo reaction’. Both LED and UV nail lamps emit UV wavelengths and work in the same way. However, UV lamps emit a broader spectrum of wavelengths, while LED lamps produce a narrower, more targeted number of wavelengths.

How does UV light and UV gel really work?

To understand what UV light is to know that all light is categorized by its different wavelengths.  Visible light for humans occurs between roughly 400 nanometers (nm.) and 780 nm. Ultraviolet light (UV) occurs from roughly 100 nm. to 400 nm., (GlazeMe). The lights are the only thing patrons should be concerned about as that’s not the only material that is used to cure the gel. 

Gels need photoinitiators in them to activate the other molecules and turn the gel into a hard plastic. The “photo” means they are light-activated, and these photoinitiators only become active when exposed to certain light wavelengths. (That’s why they don’t start curing right away in regular sunlight.) So manufacturers try to use photoinitiators that match perfectly with their own lamp’s UV wavelength emittance.

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Are they dangerous or not?

The calculated maximum exposure times to achieve erythema (sunburn) for most UV lamps is approximately 75 to 130 minutes. This is well in excess of the time required to cure nail gel.  In other words, if you are curing 4 coats per nail at 30 to 60 seconds each there is nowhere near enough exposure time to cause sunburn or skin damage.  You can wear sunscreen on the fingers and hands or even some gloves with the tips cut off if you still don’t want to  take the chances.


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