- 02 Oct 2018
10 Toxic Ingredients in Nail Polish to Avoid
We all love beautiful, trendy, vibrant and colorful nail polishes. They definitely add to the feminine beauty. However, are we aware of the fact that some of these nail polishes contain highly toxic chemicals, which are not only harmful to the skin, but also to the internal body functions?
Yes, the chemicals commonly known as “the Big Five” pose serious threats to health and skin and are 10 toxic Ingredients in Nail Polish to Avoid.
- Dibutyl Phthalate
- Formaldehyde Resin
Other than these five main toxic chemicals in nail polish;
- Ethyl Tosylamide
- Animal Products
are also commonly found toxic ingredients in nail polishes which are harmful to the skin and health and must be avoided.
Although there are some brands, which claims “toxic free and cruelty free” nail polish formulas, it is always pertinent to be satisfied with the ingredients before use, because nevertheless, no nail polish is completely free of these agents.
Let us have a deeper look into these ingredients to avoid in Nail Polish. We have ranked the toxic chemicals and outlined their effects on health:
- Dibutyl Phthlate
Dibutyl Phthalate is formally known as DBP. This is a highly toxic chemical ingredient found in cosmetics, particularly in nail polishes to prevent nail polish from chipping. If applying a nail polish containing DBP on nail, it gets absorbed in the skin and interferes with endocrine (glands which discharge hormones or other products directly into the blood) function. DBP has proven to be hormonal, reproductive and developmental toxicant, resulting in decreased fertility, liver damage, and hormonal disruption in fetuses. Due to its highly toxic nature, European Union has banned its usage in nail polishes and cosmetics.
Beware Nail Polish companies use different names for DBP and its family members including 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic Acid, Dibutyl Ester; Butyl Phthalate; DBP; Di-N-Butylphthalate; Dibutyl 1,2-Benzenedicarboxylate; Benzene-O-Dicarboxylic Acid Di-N-Butyl Ester; Celluflex DBP etc. So look for these agents before buying any nail polish.
Next to “Big Five” Nail polish toxicants is Toluene. It is a colorless chemical with strong sweet and pungent smell. It is a very common ingredient in nail polish and nail polish removers. Its function is to ensure smooth and even application of nail polish, whilst for conventional nail polish removers it assures they are smooth and frictionless. Prolong contact of this chemical with the skin induces rash, swelling, itching and irritation in skin. Many evidences have also revealed the toluene is also associated with allergic contact dermatitis, a skin condition with painful rashes and bruises on fingers and skin surrounding nails.
Apart from its adverse effects on skin, toluene fumes are extremely potent and causes neurological damage, impaired breathing, hearing loss and impaired fetal development during pregnancy. Due to its harmful effects, European Union has also restricted its use nail polishes.
Among the Big Five Nail Polish toxicants, formaldehyde secures the 3rd place in toxicity. This chemical readily absorbs in skin and cause various serious skin implications. It is used in nail polishes as a preservative and functions to strengthen and harden the nail polishes. The worst thing about this chemical is that it is a carcinogen, which means it causes cancer. Its inhalation and contact with skin for prolong period causes cancer on throat, blood and nose as lungs readily absorb it. Many evidences have also suggested that it also causes allergic dermatitis and skin irritation. People working at saloons are at the higher risk of developing toxicity by formaldehyde because of continuous exposure to the chemical. We suggest women to not to overly expose to these chemicals during pregnancy, as these may cause serious anomalies in fetuses. Formaldehyde although not banned by FDA, has completely been abandoned by Japan.
- Formaldehyde Resin
The by-product of formaldehyde is formaldehyde resin. It acts as a binder in nail polishes. It is hardening agent, which help your polish dry and stay put for several days. Like formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin is also toxic to humans. It gives resistance, shine and flexibility to nail polishes. It is usually used in long lasting nail polishes and causes eczema, dermatitis and other skin allergies. The sites, which are mostly effected by formaldehyde resins; are face, neck and fingers. Further, it was found out to be carcinogenic when exposed to a longer period.
Camphor is widely used in nail polishes for its glossy and shiny properties. It leaves a tacky yellow stain on the nails. Depigmentation and yellowing to skin around nails are characteristic signs of its use in nail polishes. Certain allergic reactions can also triggered with this chemical. Although it is not as toxic as the above chemicals, its fumes sometimes cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and rarely liver dysfunction.
- Ethyl Tosylamide
It is a plasticizer and give characteristic flexibility and durability to the nail polishes. Another prominent feature to this chemical is that is rapidly dries nail polishes and prevent from dripping. It also indirectly acts as an adhesive agent to stick nail polish to nail plates. Although no major hazard to skin has identified so far, but European Union bans this chemical because of its antibiotic resistant properties.
It is a volatile solvent and used in nail polishes because of its adhesive properties.. It is colorless with strong odor. Sadly, many nail polishes has this chemical in their recipe. It is highly skin irritant ingredient. If xyleyne is absorbed into the skin, effects such as redness, swelling, pain, itching and dryness to the skin will occur.Its vapors can irritate skin, cause headache and dizziness. Prolonged exposure even leads to respirator issues, kidney damage and sometimes-even death.
Fragrance or Perfumes used in nail polishes to nullify stringent and pungent smells of other ingredients. These are mixture of various scented chemicals to give pleasant smell to the nail polish. However, some of these are not safe to use. They have found to be associated with skin conditions like over dryness, brittle nails, dermatitis, allergies, and respiratory distress.
Parabens are preservatives in nail polishes and other cosmetics. Many problems are associated with this preservative. It can cause many allergic reactions, contact dermatitis, skin inflammation, rashes, blisters and skin burning sensations. It also pre-mature aging, infertility and breast cancer in women. In addition, it can cause developmental dysfunction in fetuses.
- Animal Products
Nail polish colors with yummy sounding names like Red Caviar, Mulberry Wine, and Cherry Red with luminous shiny appearance, sounds enticing right? Sadly, many to them contains animal products like Guanine, Carmine and Oleic Acid, which are made from fish scales, crushed beetles and animal fats. We know how disgusting it is. Using such products can cause internal health problems. Thank fully there are many brands that offers “Cruelty-Free and Vegan-Friendly” formulas to enjoy lovely vibrant colors.
So, before buying any nail polish, please be sure that your nail polish is free of all these chemical ingredients to enjoy healthy life and beautiful colors.