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Doctors say gel manicures using UV lights could increase risk of cancer

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It’s understandable to think that ultra-violet radiation only comes from the sun, but one young beauty pageant winner found out that hard way that isn’t entirely true.

20-year-old Karolina Jasko is the reigning Miss Illinois USA, and she is making her battle with melanoma part of her platform. Her melanoma formed underneath a thumbnail, and Jasko said it came from what she was doing inside.

"I got this black vertical line under my right fingernail, and I never really noticed it because I always put, I had acrylics," she said, "the doctor said that I most likely got it from getting my nails done at the nail salon, from getting acrylics, from the light."

Nail salons often use lamps or light boxes to emit UV-A rays in order to harden the gel used in some manicures, and one dermatologist said those rays can damage the skin in the same way that the sun can.

"Whether it be indoor tanning, whether it be a UV lamp, whether it be outdoor tanning -- all of those can cause aging of the skin and the potential for skin cancers," said Dr. Carolyn Jacob, the Director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology.

Jacob said you can minimize your risk by putting sunscreen on your hands, or by wearing protective gloves that some salons offer, but can also be bought online.

As for Karolina, she said she’s trying to get the word out about the danger.

"Being Miss Illinois USA helps me a lot because I get to talk about it with large groups of people and I feel like I get to bring awareness in that case," she said.

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