Nail Polish Can Actually Be Harmful To Your Health

Are you a manicure lover? Manicures leave you feeling pampered and beautiful and you can’t really resist them. But are they really safe? I bet you’ve never asked yourself that question. It turns out some chemicals included in nail polish can be very harmful. Here is how nail polish harms your nails, so next time you want to pamper yourself, have this information by StyleCraze in mind.


The troublesome trio

1. Toluene

This is one of the three notorious ingredients found in nail polish. It is a chemical substance with a characteristic pungent odor and gives the smooth finesse that women love. However nice that looks, toluene is actually a potential carcinogen. Also, it poses serious health risks to the growing fetus when pregnant ladies use nail polishes containing toluene. It can cause neurological disturbances to the users, as well as irritate the eyes or throat. Be mindful that this substance is only harmful when it exceeds the prescribed 50% concentration. This is usually the amount used in nail polishes, but many inexpensive brands go beyond this amount.

2. Formaldehyde

Interestingly, our bodies produce formaldehyde, but in very small amounts. When it’s highly concentrated, it becomes dangerous. Formaldehyde is used as a preservative and to make the polish hard and less brittle. However, the substance breaks then down and is metabolized in the body. Exposure for a very long time can be harmful, so if you work in a saloon or you are a regular customer, be mindful and avoid it. Prolonged exposure can cause cancer or toxicity to the respiratory system and the eyes.

3. Dibutyl Phthalate

DBP is a solvent that serves the function of plasticizer and reduces the brittleness of the nail polish. However, it imitates the functions of the hormone estrogen, and may cause hormonal imbalance.

Apart from the above-mentioned ingredients, formaldehyde resin (a derivative of formaldehyde) and camphor are two other harmful ingredients you can find in nail polish. Both of them are toxic and can cause irritation.

Are there alternatives?


There is always something you can do to protect yourself. Here are some safety precautions:

  • Use a 7-Free Nail Polish, which is free of Formaldehyde, Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate, Ethyl Tosylamide, and Andxylene
  • You can also use a 5-Free Nail Polish, where you only have Ethyl Tosylamide and Andxylene
  • Go for a 3-Free one whenever you can’t find the rest
  • Opt for a natural and organic polish or vegan nail polish
  • Keep going polish-free some days
  • Never inhale the fumes of the nail polish for long periods of time

* This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances.