What is the Difference Between an LED Lamp and UV Nail Lamp?The difference between an LED and UV nail lamp is based on the type of radiation the bulb emits. Gel nail polish contains photoinitiators, a chemical that requires direct UV wavelengths to be hardened or ‘cure’. This process is called a ‘photoreaction’. Both LED and UV nail lamps emit UV wavelengths and work in the same way. However, UV lamps emit a broader spectrum of wavelengths, while LED lamps produce a narrower, more targeted number of wavelengths. Science aside, there are a number of key differences between LED and UV lamps for nail technicians to be aware of:
- LED lamps typically cost more than UV lamps
- LED lamps to tend to last longer while UV lamps often need bulbs replacing
- LED lamps can cure gel polish faster than a UV light
- Not all gel polishes can be cured by an LED lamp
WHAT WATTAGE IS BEST FOR A GEL NAIL LAMP?
The wattage of your lamp can also have an effect on performance. The higher the wattage of your lamp, the faster curing it will provide. The wattage of most lamps is 36w. This is higher than regular lights, so it emits a brighter light, which will speed up the curing process.
How Long do LED Lamps Last?Most UV lamps have a bulb-life of 1000 hours, but it’s recommended that the bulbs are changed every 6 months. LED lamps should last for 50,000 hours which means you should never have to worry about changing the bulbs. So whilst they might be considerably more expensive an investment in the first place, you should factor in what you’d spend on bulb replacements when weighing up your options. Whilst it has been proven that UV exposure will cause minimum to no damage to your clients’ skin, if you are in any doubt then it’s best to stick to LED as they do not use any UV light and so pose no risk.
IS LED OR UV SAFER?
One common misconception about nail lamps is that only UV lamps emit UV light rays, and this is untrue. Both UV and LED lamps emit UV rays. While overexposure to UV rays has been known to cause damage to the skin, studies have found that the amount of UV rays emitted by a UV or LED lamp is very minimal and therefore nail lamps are safe to use.
CAN YOU CURE UV GEL WITH AN LED LAMP?
There are some gel polishes out there that are UV only gel polishes, so these will only cure under a UV lamp, and not an LED lamp.
DO UV OR LED LAMPS WORK ON REGULAR NAIL POLISH?
One other thing to point out is that neither LED or UV lamps will cure or dry regular nail polish. Regular nail polish needs time to dry in the open air, and doesn’t cure or set like gel nail polish does.