You may have heard recently about the rise of natural and nontoxic nail polish. While many companies have shifted to creating natural nail polish and tout its benefits, do you know what it means to be a natural nail polish?
To understand the importance of natural nail polish, we must first understand the fundamental make-up of your typical nail polish. Because nail polish has to withstand chipping and peeling, companies usually infuse powerful chemicals into their nail polish formulations to preserve the polish after application. There are three main damaging chemicals in nail polish. Known as the “Toxic Trio” or the “Big 3”, these chemicals are formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Formaldehyde, often found in plywood, is a preservative. However, it is considered to be a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Toulene is used to keep the nail polish smooth after applying, but it has been linked to serious health issues related to the nervous system. Dibutyl phthalate keeps nail polish flexible to avoid chipping, but it also has health concerns associated with the reproductive system.
Your skin can potentially absorb these chemicals. Thus, there has been a growth in focusing on nontoxic formulas for nail polish. Many companies are removing the Toxic Trio from their formulations, making them 3-free nail polish. Some companies removed other potentially toxic ingredients, such as camphor, which can be unhealthy to breathe in. Nowadays, many companies advertise 8-free, 10-free, or even 20-free.
While nail polish companies are starting to pay more attention to toxic chemicals in their formulas, you should still read the ingredients list to ensure that the chemicals aren’t hiding under another name. For example, formaldehyde can also go by formalin and methylene glycol. Because nail polish is essentially a cousin of paint, it is unlikely to see a completely organic ingredient list. However, removing these toxic ingredients is a step in the right direction. Whatever the number, eliminating formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP is a healthier choice for everyone.