Is Your Nail Polish Toxic? 3 Ingredients To Ban From Your Life

Whether you only use nail polish for special occasions or your manicurist knows you on a first-name basis, it’s important to know what’s inside those pretty little bottles. It's hard to imagine that something so small, glittery and colorful could be so harmful, but think again!

Since your nails are part of your skin, and skin is your body's largest organ, it's just as important to pay attention to what you're putting on your nails as other, more obvious parts of your body.

Here are three ingredients you should permanently ban from your nail polish collection:

1. Dibutyl phthalate

DBP is used as a plasticizer in most nail care products. This substance is suspected to be an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can lead to cancer and brain development problems by interfering with your hormones. If you’re a nail biter, you really want to stay away from DBP — it’s known to cause kidney and liver failure if it’s sucked or chewed for extended periods. Yikes!

2. Formaldehyde

Classified as a known human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, formaldehyde is commonly used in nail hardeners and polish. Be careful when reading ingredient labels as companies often label formaldehyde under a different name to disguise it. Look for any of the following:

  • DMDM hydantoin
  • diazolidinyl urea
  • imidazolidinyl urea
  • methenamine or quarternium-15 (formaldehyde-releasing preservatives)

Throw it out!

3. Toluene

Another development toxicity hazard, toluene is found in human milk ... the same milk women use to breastfeed their newborn babies! According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, it's also a moderate skin irritant that can lead to dermatitis with extended contact. And anything that ends with -itis can't be fun to experience!

So, what does this all mean in plain English?

  • Ditch the toxic nail polish that's likely sitting in your bathroom drawer. Opt for non-toxic alternatives when it comes to polish, remover and other treatments that come in direct contact with your nails and skin.
  • If you only get mani/pedis at the salon, bring your own polish. Most salons don't carry toxin-free products so it's definitely worthwhile to invest in and supply your own.
  • Pay attention to ingredients; you can never be too careful when it comes to anything your body comes in contact with.

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