Not only can your body absorb ingredients through your skin, these ingredients can also enter your body through your nails. Many mainstream nail polishes contain chemicals that are toxic and even though the amount of nail polish you use is probably not big, you might not want to put any chemicals on your body, right? So maybe it is time to go 3, 5 or 7 free (and there are many nice options). What do these nail polishes not contain that mainstream ones do?
1. Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP): is used mainly in nail products as a solvent for dyes and as a plasticizer that prevents nail polishes from becoming brittle. DBP is absorbed though the skin and could potentially have dangerous effects on developmental growth, reproduction and is toxic. The state of California classifies the chemical as a hormonal and reproductive toxin while Australia currently classifies it as a risk to the human reproductive system.
2. Formaldehyde: is a commonly used preservative. It is a known human carcinogen, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
3. Toluene: is a compound commonly found in varnishes, glues, gasoline, and nail polishes. It gives nail polish a smooth application and finish. You can be exposed to toluene by breathing it in or getting it on your skin, causing skin irritation. Toluene is a toxin that may also cause birth defects and developmental problems in children of pregnant women who have had extended exposure.
4. Formaldehyde resin: is a by-product of formaldehyde. a skin irritant and immune system toxicant according to the EWG.
5. Camphor: a waxy and scented substance obtained from the Camphor tree, but in nail polish the synthetic version is used. It is highly toxic and extended and excessive exposure to the fumes can cause nausea, dizziness, headaches, and disorientation, making it particularly concerning for nail technicians.
6. Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP): is a plasticizer used in polish to improve flexibility and is a flame retardant. TPHP is a known endocrine disruptor and has been linked to infertility, abnormal fetal development, hormonal imbalances and several types of cancer among others.
7. Xylene: is a compound found in petroleum products, paint thinners, and nail polish. Short-term, low level exposure to this contaminant can cause headaches and dizziness, while long-term, high level exposure and can lead to respiratory, kidney, and gastrointestinal toxicity.