People should apply sunscreen to their hands before undergoing a manicure, a group of plastic surgeons from Ireland advise.

In a letter contained in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology, Stephanie Marie Bollard and colleagues from the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University Hospital Galway, report on a wide range of skin-cancer risk estimates tied to the use of ultraviolet lamps during acrylic gel manicures.

The ultraviolet lamps are used to catalyse polymerisation and hardening of the gels used during the procedure. Customers typically hold each hand under the lamps for five minutes. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation is an acknowledged skin cancer risk, albeit one that is dose dependent.