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According to Life: The Science of Biology (10th edition), UV radiation might cause the formation of pyrimidine dimers, which are the primary cause of skin cancer in humans.

Are mutations more likely in case a cell is exposed to UV during mitosis?

My TA (who is a stem cell researcher) implied that the answer is yes, as she explicitly said that the risk of getting cancer from gel manicure is non-trivial, due to the following reasoning:

  • During the treatment, small cuts are made (not on purpose) to the skin around the nails.
  • The exposure to UV occurs just after that, while the tissue is healing.
  • This significantly increases the risk of cancer.

However, I didn't find information about that by googling. On the contrary, I encountered studies about using UV to enhance healing of wounds, e.g., Is UV radiation beneficial in postburn wound healing?.


In addition, Wikipedia's scar page says (though I didn't find a reference for that claim in the Wikipedia page):

scars in the skin are less resistant to ultraviolet radiation

Also, people are instructed to avoid exposure to UV after laser hair removal.

Is these two related to mitosis? Or are they instead related to some property of scar tissue?


references:
Rennekampff, H-O., et al. "Is UV radiation beneficial in postburn wound healing?." Medical hypotheses 75.5 (2010): 436-438.

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  • $\begingroup$ This question does not make sense. Human fingernails are inert, acellular, structures made primarily of keratin. There are no living cells in them and therefore cutting or trimming the nails is not a wound. Without a wound the term healing does not have a clear sense. Fingernails “grow” at a constant rate, regardless of trimming. Wound healing does require mitosis, manicures do not. Ask your TA about the incidence of fingernail cancer. $\endgroup$ – mdperry Jul 14 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ @mdperry Thank you. I wasn't aware of keratinization. Quite fascinating. I might have misinterpreted her explanation (though she definitely said that the risk of getting cancer from gel manicure is non-trivial). Anyway, I sent her an email. $\endgroup$ – Oren Milman Jul 14 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ @mdperry She answered that during the treatment small cuts are made (not on purpose) to the skin around the nails. I edited my question accordingly. $\endgroup$ – Oren Milman Jul 15 at 17:14

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