Why Should We Avoid Nail Polish?

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Nothing adorns female nails better than a smooth coat of seductive nail polish. Multifarious colored blobs of charm adds a whole new dimension to the nimble fingers of fairer sex causing sporadic heart fluttering and occasional glares from green eyed daemons. 

Did you know that the dandy lacquer of your nail-paint contains harmful and often carcinogenic chemical? The three compounds: Formaldehyde, Toluene and Dibutyl Phthlate or DBP are the most common combination of chemicals in any nail paint that is collectively referred to as the “Toxic Trio”. 

 

 

What are the common ingredients in Nail Polish?

Any nail polish need to have the basic ingredients outlined as follows:

  • Solvents: Chemicals like Toluene, Xylene, Butyl Acetate and Alcohol are used to combine different chemicals in a uniform mix.
  • Film Formers: Solutions like Nitrocellulose that gives an even surface on applying a coat of the paint.
  • Resins: Polymer based liquid that makes a coat of color stick to the nail bed. Tosylamide-Formaldehyde Resin is popularly used as resin by manufacturers.
  • Plasticizers: Chemicals like Camphor that prevents polish from breaking or being chipped.
  • Pigments: They are colorants that give nail polish their multiple hues.
  • Pearls: Chemicals like Titanium Oxide or Mica that provides the glittering effect of some nail paints.

In addition to the above list, thickening agents and ultraviolet filters are also used. Now, you don’t require a chemist to certify that the chemicals in nail paint aren’t exactly good for health. Here is a situation where common-sense prevails. There is no nail point completely free from ill effects.

 

 

What are the harmful effects of nail polish ingredients?

Remember DBP, Toluene and Formaldehyde, the “deadly trio” we talked about in the beginning? 

Formaldehyde is far from being harmless, dubbed to be carcinogenic in nature it could cause ear, nose, and skin irritation. DBP and Toluene are known to disrupt reproduction causing birth defects.In addition to other anomalies Toluene could produce symptoms of headache, fatigue and dizziness. In a recently published Toxic Substance Control Report in California, it has been revealed that more than 48000 women working in nail parlors are exposed to a fairly high degree of risk. DTSC (Department of Toxic Substance Control) has corroborated the fact with research that “Toxic Trio” could lead to chronic ill health and create conditions like asthma when inhaled for long over a considerable period of time. Almost 121000 licensed nail artists working in different salons are being exposed to these harmful chemicals day in and day out.

Apart from this there are other harmful chemicals no less deadly than the rest.

  • Butyl Acetate: A powerful solvent that causes serious health hazards with over exposure. The peculiarity of this chemical lies in the fact that it is non toxic when orally ingested. However if the lungs gets affected by it, result could be fatal, leading to vomiting, coughing and at times even painful death from chemical pneumonia. Butyl Acetate is no child’s play and has to be handled with immense care.
  • VA Copolymer: Although free from major side effects when used in regulated amount, VA Copolymer could cause severe skin irritation and rashes. It is used in nail polishes to serve as a waterproof coating for the nails.
  • o Epoxy Resins: Also known as hardener, Epoxy Resins could be quite irritable for the skin when in direct contact. It could cause immense allergy giving rise to rashes and inflammation of skin. Inhaling Epoxy vapor could be fatal for the respiratory system. Small particles of dust clog the lung infesting the mucous system.
  • Benzophenone 1: A chemical known for its stability, that prevents change in color of nail polish when subjected to direct sunlight. Especially bad for children as their immune system lacks the enzyme needed to disintegrate the compound. This might lead to harmful accumulation in the body. Once absorbed the chemical remains in body for quite some time. The grave concern is that Benzophenone1 keeps providing free radicals in the body that could be very harmful in the long run.
  • Stearalkonium Hectorite: You must have admired the sparkling particles swimming slowly in the bottle that make your talons so titillating to look at? Yes, it is Stearalkonium Hectorite that acts as a thickening agent. Due to inherent toxic nature, ingesting the chemical could be very harmful. Effects on the skin and eye could be detrimental so don’t you dare throw caution to the wind while painting your nails.
  • Bismuth Oxychloride: Behind the shine and shimmer of your nail paint, Bismuth Oxychloride has the largest to contribute. The inside story is however on the bleaker side. Respiratory problems, skin irritation and neurological disorders are associated with this not so harmless chemical. Direct inhalation could produce nose, throat and lung irritation. Being essentially a crystal of abrasive nature it could cause acne and whole lot of complications of the skin.

 

Brand analysts conducted extensive research and survey with 25 brands randomly before they could unanimously agree on the following: 

- Out of 12 products at least 10 of them contains Toluene despite the claims of companies for being Toluene free.

- Contrary to company declaration of their products being free from the “Toxic Trio”, 5 out of 7 are found to be containing at least one of the above compounds in disturbing level.

 

 

Are natural nail polishes safe for your health? 

Is there anything as non-toxic nail polish? It’s often a challenge to analyze the so called “natural” nail paints. If you take a look at the ingredient list of Aquarel,a natural brand of nail polish, you’d find Acrylic Polymer Emulsion, water and non-toxic coolant to be the main constituents of the product. Now what is Acrylic Polymer Emulsion? To that you don’t have a clear answer and it continues remaining a grey area.

Brands like Honeybee garden, Scotch Naturals and Piggy Paints are in the same league for non-disclosure of ingredients. The claim of being natural therefore cannot be substantiated with concrete facts.

 

 

What's the moral of the story?

The crux of the story remains simple. Firstly, the concept of 100% safe nail polish is a myth that is to be nipped at the bud.

Some polishes are water based whereas others are solvent based. Water based nail paints use water along with other ingredients and are known as natural/non-toxic. Solvent based nail polishes are conventionally prepared and no matter how much the manufacturer brags of these being non-toxic, they are similar to any conventional paint in the market. 

Prevention is any time better than cure so play safe and use your colors in moderation. This’d considerably reduce chances of damage. As a best practice always keep your children strictly out of this entire nail tale.