Who doesn’t love a shiny, new coat of polish on their nails? We feel the same way but there’s a lot that goes into making those beautiful nail polishes that may not be the best option for people to use. With so many companies making the switch to environmentally-safe alternatives for their products, the beauty industry is also taking stride. With that being said, keeping people informed plays a vital part in keeping them healthy.
Formaldehyde – This chemical is used to strengthen and harden the polish while serving as a preservative that protects against bacterial growth. Although the low quantities that are developed naturally within the body aren’t dangerous, being exposed to larger amounts from the air and onto the skin can cause cancer. Other symptoms as a result to high exposure include asthma, nausea, and convulsions.
Formaldehyde Resin – Clearly a close cousin to the Formaldehyde family, this chemical is another one to look out for because of its adjacency to Formaldehyde. Acting as a hardening agent, it helps your polish dry faster, but it is still toxic to humans. It may cause eczema, dermatitis, and other skin allergies.
Camphor – This particular ingredient is the one that gives nail polish that ever-so-beautiful shine we all know and love. It may not be as toxic as formaldehyde, but it has been recently called into question because it’s known to irritate the skin. Also, inhaling the fumes can cause a slew of illnesses including nausea, dizziness, and accompanying headaches.
Toluene – The key to the smooth finish with nail polish is the abundance of Toluene in it, and it found in most nail polish removers as well. This chemical is also found in varnishes, glues, gasoline, and so on, and high exposure to the fumes can be extremely toxic. Prolonged contact with Toluene can also potentially induce a rash, swelling, itching, and even irritation in the skin.
Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) – A plasticizer that is used to increase the durability of nail polish may not seem harmful, but it has been known to cause many health issues. These include reducing fertility, liver damage, and hormonal imbalances. It has been banned in other countries, and is among the most toxic agents in nail polish.
The key to choosing the right nail polish is to promote growth, strength, and health of nails, and the only way to do that is to avoid these pesky chemicals. Reading the labels is going to be your saving grace in this case. The databases available online to inform customers of what is inside nail products is copious, take advantage and see what you’ve been exposing yourself to.
How the Breakdown Works
Some nail polish companies that are producing safer alternatives for nail polish have certain tiers that let customers know which chemicals were not used to make that specific nail polish. The range of categories is widespread from “three-free” to “ten-free” representing the number of chemicals that the polish is free of. Three-free doesn’t contain Formaldehyde, Toluene, or Dibutyl Phthalate, and Ten-free doesn’t contain any harmful additives including animal byproducts, making them vegan.