Miss Illinois suffers skin cancer 'from getting gel manicures'

The beauty pageant queen was diagnosed with the terrible disease as a result of something many women regularly do, without realizing the risk it could carry. 

Karolina Jasko, the current Miss Illinois, was diagnosed with melanoma in 2016 when she was just 18 years old. The doctors told her the skin cancer had likely developed from her ‘getting gel manicures.'

Before her diagnosis, Jasko noticed a black line on her nail that she hadn't previously seen. She went straight to the doctor to have her nails checked - and she was diagnosed with skin cancer.

Jasko is now 20 years old and her thumb is permanently scarred as a result of cancer. Her affected nails are all gone. To learn more follow us on twitter @amomama_usa.

"I got a black vertical line under my right fingernail and I never really noticed it because I always had acrylics"

Karolina Jasko, Fox 32

"The doctor said I most likely got it from getting my nails done at the nail salon, from the light," she added. The light she's indicating is a device that releases UVA rays to cure gel manicures, as gel polish cannot cure without the lamp. 

Dr. Carolyn Jacob told Fox 32: "Whether indoor tanning, UV lamp, outdoor tanning, all of those can cause aging of the skin and potential for skin cancers." 

Jacob also said that Jasko is more susceptible to the disease because she has a history of melanoma in her family. The doctor believed it's necessary to take precautions when using light boxes during manicures, as any time the skin is exposed to UV light it causes damage to the skin cells.

The damage can trigger mutations and genetic defects that can form malignant tumors. Jacob recommended wearing sun cream to help protect the hands while having gel nails applied.

"Use a sunscreen that has a physical blocker like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to cover all of your skin,” said Jacob, who is the director of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology. 

Experts have warned women against the popular salon treatment because of the significant risks posed by the UV lamp involved. 

Dr. Walayat Hussain, a spokesman for the British Association of Dermatologists, told The Sun: "Nail melanoma can occur, it is quite a rare form of melanoma. It is an isolated, pigmented streak going through one of your nails." 

Jasko, who is now preparing for the annual Miss USA pageant, hopes that she can use her platform as a beauty queen to spread awareness about melanoma, a form of skin cancer that arises when pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes mutate and become cancerous.

"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,” she said.

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