We often stop and think about the things we put into our bodies. But how often do we think about what we put on our bodies? We need to be doing it a lot more, as research on the effects of nail polish makes very clear.
It’s a lot worse than you might think.
In one study from Duke University, researchers found signs of deadly chemical toxins in all of the 24 women being observed. The common link between them? They used nail polish. Even the non-toxic varieties came back positive.
This should be no surprise; in another study, it was made clear that nail polish manufacturers are not being honest.
“The labelling does not always reflect the ingredients,” says Valetti Lang, manager of the Pollution Prevention Branch of the Department of Toxic Substances Control in California.
And the chemicals don’t take years to seep into a person’s body; the study found that only 10 hours after the polish was applied, signs of triphenyl phosphate appeared in each of the 24 participants’ bodies.
Triphenyl phosphate, also known as TPHP, is known to disrupt the endocrine system, which controls the body’s hormones. it has the ability to cause lasting effects on hormone regulation, metabolism, reproduction and body development. This puts young girls, a demographic that frequently uses nail polish, at greater risk.
Dibutyl phthalate causes similar effects, but also was found to affect the liver in animal studies. Animal offspring numbers were also reduced, as was the birthweight of the offspring. The chemical has effects both as a result of inhalation and absorption through the skin, which occur during nail polish application.
Toluene is also an issue, particularly when it comes to the development of children. Traces of it can travel through breast milk and also cause irritation to skin upon exposure. This chemical is particularly harmful for those who inhale large quantities due to workplace exposure.
And then we reach formaldehyde.
You know that strong smell nail polish has? It comes from formaldehyde.
Formaldehyde can produce effects like a scratchy throat, asthma and breathing difficulties. It also results in eye and nose irritation.
Thankfully, there are companies that have responded to the discovery of such harmful nail polish ingredients. There is a wide variety of great natural alternatives that don’t post the same risks.
Here are a few options:
Honeybee Gardens carries natural nail polish that comes in a wide variety of colors. They are water-based and can be removed with standard rubbing alcohol.
Acquarella also has an extensive collection of over 50 nail polish colors that take things a step further and leave mercury and wheat products out of the ingredient list.
Looking for a totally vegan option? SpaRitual is the nail polish brand for you.
Peacekeeper Cause-Metics has a few natural, bright nail polishes that are infused with Argan oil. The polish not only looks good but will moisturize your nails as well.
Painting your nails can be a fun way to express yourself but it shouldn’t be a threat to your health or the health of those who share your airspace. Consider switching to a healthy alternative that won’t break your body, style or wallet.