Nail polish: is it really dangerous? 4 toxic substances found in it

Nail polish

Nail polish seems harmless, but it is dangerous and can cause many health problems because of the chemicals it contains. This beauty product has undergone positive transformations over time, thanks to technological advances. Most cosmetics of this type are non-toxic today, even if they still contain chemicals designed to facilitate polish application, drying, shine, and persistence.

How nail polish affects your nails?

When you apply it directly to the nail, the chemicals in this product can affect its natural structure, from changing the natural shade of white to a yellowish-orange-brown color to increasing the predisposition to exfoliation and breakage.

In addition, certain chemicals in nail polish affect your nails and their vigor and your overall health.

What toxic compounds does a nail polish contain?

  • Triphenylphosphate, a primary compound of this beauty product, is very harmful to the endocrine system and was found in the body even 10 hours after its application on the nails.

This compound is present in almost every nail polish. Another study shows that of the ten brands tested, triphenylphosphate was present in 8 of them. It is frightening that some of these brands do not even mention triphenylphosphate on the label.

  • Toluene. An immensely harmful chemical compound that causes skin irritation and affects the normal development of children.
  • Formaldehyde, recognized as a carcinogen, is used as a nail hardener and disinfectant for nail care tools. A 2014 study showed that formaldehyde promotes and contributes to the formation of cancerous tumors. In the case of nail polish, this lethal substance reaches the blood through skin absorption so quickly. Formaldehyde is also considered the contact allergen of 2015 by the US Contact Dermatitis Society. The right ones, formaldehyde, are found in small care products, but enough to trigger the choice of people sensitive to formaldehyde. A 2015 study, quoted by, concluded that up to 11.9% of the population is allergic to formaldehyde when exposed to a skin test with 2.0% formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is currently banned in cosmetics but can still be found hidden under other names or in its derivatives (Diazolidinyl urea). When buying nail polish, choose only products that say “formaldehyde-free” or “toxic-trio-free” (without formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate).

  • Glyoxal is classified as a skin allergen.

The natural question after all this information is: To maintain our health, do we no longer apply nail polish? Not necessarily!

Natural nail polishes have not been created yet, but in cosmetics stores, you can find ones that contain ingredients that are friendly to your nails.

nail polish

How to protect your nails from the effects of nail polish?

If you do not want yellowed and brittle nails, it is essential to prepare them by applying nail polish correctly.

The first step you need to take into account is to apply a layer of remover, which forms a thin film between the pigmented nail polish and the nail, thus preventing the change of its shade.

The exfoliating effect is reduced by using the protective varnish and regularly cutting and filing the nails correctly (in one direction).

You can also protect your nails by frequently using nail treatments, which you can make yourself at home, with olive oil, argan oil, oily vitamin E, or other beneficial natural ingredients. It is equally important to take breaks between applications for at least a week so that your nails enjoy a respite in which to breathe.

If your nails have already suffered from the negative influence of constantly used nail polish, you can use lemon juice applied directly on the nail as a homemade whitening treatment.

nail polish


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