Here is how nail polish can affect your health

Updated at: May 14, 2019
Here is how nail polish can affect your health

Love for nail polish is endless, but do you know, how harmful your nail polish is and how it can affect your health?

Written by: Arti ChaudharyPublished at: May 14, 2019

Nail polish enhances the beauty of hands and feet. For every occasion you might be having a perfect shade to match with your outfit. Nail art is another trend which many girls religiously follow, where they try different arts and patterns on nails with different nail paints and sometimes on artificial nails as well. Many of you might be addicted to the smell of nail polish as well. But have you ever wondered how harmful your nail polish can be? The smell you love a lot can be so hazardous for your health. Know how your favorite nail polish can harm your health.

As you know, you should not use nail polish too often. It makes your mails dry and you will notice that your nails are turning yellow in colour. Cosmetics like nail polish can cause some severe problems to your health, more than you can even imagine. Health risks of nail polish chemicals can vary from reproductive problems to cancer due to constituent agents such as formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and toluene. These chemicals are called as the toxic trio.

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Toxic trio dangers on health


Toluene is a solvent used in nail polish to give your nails smooth finish and preserves the pigment. This solvent can affect the central nervous system, brain and nerves and causes, headaches, weakness, fainting, dizziness and nausea, and many more are results of using cheap nail polishes. Apart from this toluene can effect kidney, liver and reproductive disorder. 


Formaldehyde is a colorless gas that helps increasing life span of nail polishes. It is highly recommended to avoid using nail polish if you are suffering from any allergies. As formaldehyde can cause dermatitis and some chemical burns. Heart rhythm disorders, convulsions and cancer are the other severe health effects of formaldhyde. 

Dibutyl Phthalate

It is used in nail polishes as a solvent for dyes and adds flexibility to nail paints. Dibutyl phthalate also prevents nail polishes from becoming brittle. Presence of this chemical in your nail polishes can cause endocrine disorders, diseases of the respiratory tract and gynecological diseases. 

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How to prevent the ill effects of nail polish?

  • Take gaps between applying nail polish, maybe only on occasions and remove them off later that night
  • Leave your nails without nail polish for few days in every month to prevent them from turning yellow
  • There are many nail polishes available in market, some of them have special packaging or markings like, 5 – free or 3 – free nail polishes. 
  • 5 – free nail polish mean it does not have formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resins and camphor. Whereas, 3 – free nail polish mean it does not contain toxic trio. It is really important to pay attention to the ingredients before buying nail polish. Always remember your health is in your health. 

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