MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (04/11/2023) — The season of proms, weddings and other major social events is upon us. If you’re planning to book an appointment to get a tan or fresh manicure, there are some important health considerations to keep in mind. A recent study found that the ultraviolet (UV) lamps used for gel nail treatments can damage cells and potentially increase the risk for skin cancer. Skin cancer risk associated with tanning beds is also well documented.

Ingrid Polcari, MD, with the University of Minnesota Medical School shares how UV light damage impacts skin health.

Ingrid Polcari, MD

“It’s important to recognize that most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to UV rays. Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is a vital step in preventing skin cancer and ensuring your long-term health and well-being."

“Given what we know about UV rays, it’s no surprise that the UV in gel nail lights could also have some risk. If you’re planning to get a tan or manicure for an upcoming social event, consider alternatives that don’t involve UV exposure.”

Ingrid Polcari, MD, is an associate professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School and a Masonic Cancer Center member. She is also a pediatric dermatologist at M Health Fairview. Her areas of expertise include dermatology, specifically photoprotection and skin cancer prevention.

Ingrid Polcari, MD

Associate professor at the U of M Medical School.

Contact: mednews@umn.edu

Download a high resolution photo of Dr. Polcari.


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The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. We acknowledge that the U of M Medical School, both the Twin Cities campus and Duluth campus, is located on traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Dakota and the Ojibwe, and scores of other Indigenous people, and we affirm our commitment to tribal communities and their sovereignty as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with tribal nations. For more information about the U of M Medical School, please visit med.umn.edu