How This Woman's Acrylic Nails Reportedly Caused Melanoma​

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In this month’s horrifying news, one 20-year-old woman’s love of nail polish may have contributed to her getting cancer when she was just 18.

Karolina Jasko, a beauty pageant queen crowned Miss Illinois, was getting a manicure when she noticed a black line running down the center of her thumbnail. "I never really noticed it because I had acrylics," she said in an interview with Fox News. After going to the doctor, she was diagnosed with melanoma in her thumb, resulting in the loss of her fingernail and a thick scar.


"The doctor said I most likely got it from… getting acrylics from the light," she said. Acrylic and gel manis require exposure to UV light (regardless of whether it’s a UVA lamp or an LED lamp) to cure the polish, which can contribute to skin damage and an increased risk of cancer.


But if you just got a fresh set of acrylics, don’t freak. "A study quantified the skin-cancer risk of these devices and determined that even if you were to have a gel manicure every week, your chances of developing skin cancer would not be increased," Dana Stern, MD, dermatologist and nail specialist in New York City, told MarieClaire.com. Still, that doesn't mean you shouldn't protect yourself.

"We dermatologists tend to be cautiously optimistic people, but I still advise protecting your hands or feet with either a broad-spectrum sunscreen applied 15 minutes before exposure, or using either fingertip-less gloves or pedicure socks in order to protect the skin on the hands and feet from the ageing effects of UV light," she added.


For Karolina, her melanoma scare has become part of her Miss Illinois platform, which she’s hoping to use to educate people on the seriousness of skin cancer. If you’re still set on your manicure obsession, though, please promise me to at least apply sunscreen all over your hands before you head to the salon. 

This story first appeared on ELLE.com/UK.

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