Should You Avoid UV Light at the Nail Salon?

Recently, I adventured into a new nail treatment – Shellac Nails! What I LOVE about them is that I don’t have to worry about chipping or peeling for almost 2 weeks, and no chemical smells that go along with other nail treatments.

The downside is that they can tend to dry your nails out. Your manicurist should be on the lookout for signs of nail dehydration each time you have a manicure. Most often you will see white discoloration of the nails that doesn’t go away with applying lotion. To treat them, you will need to take a little break from the Shellac Nails until they repair, and use the Shellac product less often.

A common misconception is that the UV light used to fix the Shellac causes premature aging of the skin on your hands, and an increase in development of skin cancers. The study used to base this information on is questionable, and here’s an excellent source that shares new information which will calm your worries if you are loving Shellac Nails!

Take a hop over to Personal Care Truth and enjoy the excellent evaluation they performed on UV lights used in nail salons and their findings about the potential for advanced skin aging and skin cancer development. The article is Do UV Nail Lamps Emit Unsafe Levels of Ultraviolet Light?”  (Just CLICK on the title and you can read their great research and findings.)

While you are there, browse around for more useful information about ingredients and products you use everyday for your personal care. Then, come on back and let me know what you think!

If you have any concerns at all about the amount of UV light exposure, you can always apply sunscreen before your treatment, and bring some with you for use after your manicure, right before your Shellac application.

A fabulous moisturizer with UVA/UVB protection I recommend is Celloxylin Day Defense Plus, with 25 SPF.

About Candace

Candace Dye is an Apriori Beauty Consultant and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Her passion is helping others to uncover and enhance their true inner radiance with tips for health, wellness, skin care and beauty!


  1. I agree that UV nail lamps DO NOT cause cancer and thank you for helping to address this silly myth.
    I do disagree about the causes of the white spots you describe. These are caused by improper removal. When they are magnified, it is clear these spots are restricted to the nail plate surface and are caused when nail technicians scrape the nail plate too aggressively or use a tool to pry off the coating. If nail technicians take a few extra minutes to ensure the coating is carefully and properly removed, this type of damage will not occur and the nail plate will remain in healthy condition.

    • Candy says:

      Thank you for your excellent comment and advice, Doug! Is soaking the nails in acetone for 10 minutes the best method to loosen the shellac? I will request the scraping tool be used with a lighter touch next time. Thank you!

      • Hi Candy,
        Ten minutes is the key to proper removal! Not 5 min. or 7 min. Nail professionals sometimes get impatient and shorten this time and try to make up for it by scraping the nail. That can lead to surface damage which has the appearance of white spots. I recommend that nail techs use a timer to ensure they wait the full 10 minutes before removal. If they do this, scraping is not needed and surface damage can be easily avoided.

        Also, soaking in acetone is not as effective as following the removal method that CND recommends.

        • Candy says:

          Thank you very much, Doug. I will be timing them from now on! Appreciate your info on acetone – will look up the CND recommendations. Grateful for your comments!

          • ElizabethD says:

            Hey there!

            I LOVE the shellac nails..not as damaging as the acrylic, but lasts much longer than a regular manicure. But I can’t stand it when they’re digging away at my nails because they haven’t let the acetone work its magic yet – at the expense of my nails’ health! A tip that I discovered when I visited a new salon: instead of letting the nail technician use the tools, have him/her use a buffer to remove the shellac. Nowhere near as harsh and damaging as the metal tools, but gets the job done.

          • Candy says:

            Great tip! Thank you, Elizabeth! I’ll ask my salon next time what they think of using a buffer. They were very eager to work with me and last visit, they soaked
            gauze pads in acetone, placed one on each nail, and wrapped each with aluminum foil for ten minutes. When they unwrapped, the shellac was
            almost completely lifted from each nail. She then took the tool and with the blade almost parallel to the nail, slid the remaining shellac off. My nails
            were perfect! Dr. Schoon was so right, too! Thank you, both!

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