Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), on March 11, issued a ban on the use of UV nail polish dryers in beauty salons across the country. This was issued after RSB conducted inspections and found that some machines were not up to standards, posing potential health risks to clients. As a result, RSB cautioned all individuals and businesses in possession of UV nail polish dryers to have them inspected to ensure they are safe for use on clients. The move, however, does not sit well with a number of salon owners. RSB called for business importers of these machines to have a valid accredited laboratory license showing that the UV nail polish dryers are up to international standards. ALSO READ: Health and safety procedures required for beauty salons A beauty salon operator in Kigali who asked for anonymity said this move is going to affect their business. “Personally, I feel like the Rwanda Standards Board should not have banned the use of UV nail polish dryers in beauty salons. I do not understand how they can claim that the equipment is not up to standards while it went through customs and met all their requirements,” he said. “This ban is going to have a significant impact on our business as we now have to take all our UV nail polish dryers for inspection at the RSB lab, which will result in additional expenses for us. “As of now, we are not operating, and business won’t go as usual. It’s a tough pill to swallow, and I hope the RSB will reconsider their decision and find a way for us to continue using these machines safely,” he added. ALSO READ: Why your nails need a break from UV lamps While RSB’s ban on the use of the equipment may seem like an overreaction to some, there is actually a growing body of research that suggests that these machines may pose health risks to individuals who use them on a regular basis. According to the director general of the Rwanda Standards Board, Raymond Murenzi, some salon’s UV nail polish dryer models have been found to emit high levels of UV light that do not comply with international standards. He told The New Times that the aim is not to condemn every machine but to take precautions and identify those that do not meet the required standards. “Business owners have to understand that this is protecting their clientele and they should abide by the announcement,” Murenzi said. To ensure compliance, RSB is collaborating with Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), Rwanda Inspectorate, Competition and Consumer Protection Authority (RICA), Rwanda National Police, and other stakeholders to inspect all machines. Additionally, all new machines being imported will be required to have certification showing that they meet international standards. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD), exposure to UV radiation from nail polish dryers can increase the risk of developing skin cancer. The study found that individuals who frequently use UV nail polish dryers have an increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that is often caused by exposure to UV radiation. ALSO READ: Your concerns: Does nail polish pose any health threats? Nature Communications, (an open access journal that publishes high-quality research from all areas of the natural sciences), says that frequent use of UV nail dryers can damage DNA and cause cell death in human hands, potentially increasing the risk of skin cancer due to chronic and repeated UV exposure. In addition to increasing the risk of skin cancer, UV nail polish dryers can also cause other health problems. According to the aforementioned journal, exposure to UV radiation can cause premature ageing of the skin, leading to wrinkles and age spots. Additionally, some individuals may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions from the chemicals used in nail polish and other nail care products. ALSO READ: Melanoma: A rising aggressive type of skin cancer Dr Susan Massick, a dermatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and an associate professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, said in an article published by the university that these dryers are widely marketed as being safe while they’re actually not. “The assumption is that there’s no risk or downside to using these convenient tools, but the problem is that UVA rays are carcinogenic, and exposing your skin to direct, concentrated amounts aren’t recommended, whether they’re coming from a tanning bed or from a gel manicure dryer. The skin on fingertips and around nails is also harder to treat when we find problems,” she said. Dr Massick recommends individuals to use alternative methods for drying their nails, such as air drying or using a fan.