Can Nail Polish Affect Your Health? | Girls Mag

Can Nail Polish Affect Your Health?

healthy fingernails

Nobody wants lifeless nails, but jazzing them up with nail polish may actually hurt your health. That’s because many polishes contain three harmful chemicals, sometimes called the toxic trio. The culprits are toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Each of these chemicals help to keep our polished nails looking sleek and speed up the drying process, but they also cause adverse health effects. However, there are several gel nail polishes free of these and other harmful chemicals.

Aside from being found in many nail polishes, toluene is a chemical commonly used as an ingredient in paints, paint thinners, and inks. Many nail lacquers mix in toluene because it makes paint dry more quickly and smoothly. Nonetheless, toluene can have adverse effects on your health when inhaled. Immediately during and after using products with toluene it is possible to develop headaches, eye irritation, dizziness, stinging sensations in the nose and throat, and in the long run can be harmful to the kidney, liver, and reproductive health. Pregnant women should avoid toluene at all costs, as it can disrupt a healthy pregnancy. Toluene also dries out skin, nails, and cuticles, which not only looks bad but also causes nails to become brittle and prone to chipping.

The second ingredient that may affect your health is formaldehyde. Yep, the same foul-smelling, eye-stinging preservative from your high school biology lab. This substance helps nail polish to harden but at the same time, formaldehyde can cause rashes after skin contact or induce dizzy spells, headaches, tiredness, and ultimately can interfere with the normal workings of your immune system. Formaldehyde preserves a lot of things, but not moisture–this ingredient will dry you out! Dry nails are more likely to break or experience periods of slow growth than moisturized cuticles and nails.

Last, beware of DBP! You probably don’t want to put this potent ingredient often found in pesticides on your nails and skin. That’s because, although DBP is used to create a glossy finish, this chemical can cause serious damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs when inhaled. Worse than that, DBP is actually a carcinogen known to hurt reproductive health. Just like its sisters toluene and formaldehyde, DBP is a dangerous element that also affects your beauty, as it dries out nails, cuticles, and skin.

Luckily for us nail polish fiends, there are many alternatives to toxic nail polishes–many of which are gel lacquer formulas. Research showing linkages between nail polish ingredients and development of certain ailments has sparked a movement in the beauty industry aiming to phase out dangerous ingredients in polish. Making the switch to safe gel polishes can be as simple as getting a starter diy gel nail kit. Gel nail kits typically come with everything you need for your first DIY gel manicure, but be sure to check the listed ingredients for traces of toluene, formaldehyde, and DBP before painting your nails!

So, yes, nail polish can affect your health negatively, but with the right tools it doesn’t have to.

Writer Bio :

Vanessa Steed

I am a mum, a wife and a lover of all things to do with nails and nail polish! I have worked in the beauty industry for over 10 years but am currently an at-home mom looking after my two young kids.visit my website :


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