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Is Your Nail Polish Toxic? The Five, Seven, and Eight-Free Brands You Should Know About

Are you trying to stop biting your nails? Or, maybe you don’t like how your natural nails look? Usually, nail polish helps with this problem. This is why most girls love going for weekly mani-pedis. One downside of this, though is that nail polish has some dangerous chemicals. Most people think that by just applying it, they cannot possibly be exposing themselves to any harmful substance. The truth of the matter is that our bodies tend to absorb toxins via nail polish, which should raise concerns.

Are the Ingredients in Your Nail Polish Toxic?

One of such chemicals, toluene, tends to disrupt your hormones, which could lead to birth defects and developmental problems in the fetus of pregnant mothers with long-term exposure. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is also said to cause the same problem, and formaldehyde, which is another ingredient, has been found to be carcinogenic. The level of toxicity in nail polish will continue to exist as long as these compounds are included in their formulas.

Research by Duke University and the Environmental Working Group came up with the conclusion that chemicals found in nail polish and TPHP, which has been found to disrupt endocrine, is messing up with polish-wearers’ bodies.

TPHP is commonly used as a fire retardant in most household furniture and as a hardener in plastic goods. This component is included in nail polish to help make it stickier. According to the research,it tends to bring changes in how hormones are regulated, metabolism, and the reproductive system.

This study found that when women used nail polish containing TPHP, they got an increase in TPHP metabolite within 10 hours after application. Here is a breakdown of these toxins.


This is paint thinner and tends to be colorless and water-soluble. It is usually used in glue to add the stiffness. The component has been found to cause dizziness, dry skin, numbness, and irritated nose, eyes, and throat. Liquid toluene is even more toxic than its vapors, yet it is an ingredient in many nail polish brands.


This component is commonly used, yet it can cause significant danger to your health. There exist low levels of formaldehyde in foods like fruits, but these are considered harmless. However, the FDA has regulated the levels of this component in nail polish because of its toxicity. The main problem is the quantity. Most nail hardeners have formaldehyde concentrations that go up to 5%, and nail polish has 0.5%, which are high levels.

Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)

This is usually used as a plasticizer to make things flexible. Some of its effects are not so severe and include nausea, and the irritation of mouth, throat, nose, skin, and eyes. The long-term toxic effects include damaging the reproductive system in men and women.

Some brands have decided to omit some of these toxic chemicals in an effort to make safe nail polish for their consumers. 

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