Do You Really Need To Worry About The Ingredients In Your Nail Polish?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Apr 13, 2015

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Quick Bites

  • Some nail paints contain toxic chemicals.
  • When inhaled or absorbed, these chemicals can harm your body.
  • Some brands have stopped using such hazardous chemicals.
  • Chose nail paints from brands that don't use these chemicals.


Like every other girl, you like wearing nail paints and there are a number of shades available for you to try. Every time you see someone with a new nail paint you do not have, you end up buying it the very next time you hit the store. Painting your nails the perfect way definitely adds elegance to your personality but have you ever wondered if it can pose any risk to your health? Well, if you believe the new report from California, some nail paints and other beauty products may have some level of toxic chemicals in them. To make things worse, not all the brands mention the ingredients on the label.


nail paint

According to the David Suzuki Foundation 2010 report, 80 percent of cosmetics contain at least one ingredient linked with health and environmental concerns including cancer, reproductive disorders, asthma and severe allergies. In the recent years, however, some nail paint brands have removed these chemicals from their products and labelled their products as non-toxic.

Your nail paint may contain at least these three chemicals


Dibutyl phthalate

It is a solvent for dyes and is used as a plasticizer for preventing nail polishes from becoming brittle. The phthalate is classified as an  endocrine disruptor and as toxic to reproduction. According to experts, chewing and sucking on products containing phthalates for extended periods may cause liver and kidney failure in young children.





Formaldehyde is commonly used as an ingredient in nail hardeners in concentrations of up to five per cent. Your nail may contain tosylamide/formaldehyde resin and residual formaldehyde concentrations of up to 0.5 per cent.  According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, formaldehyde is known as human carcinogen.



According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, toluene is a moderate skin irritant which leads to dermatitis if used for a prolonged time. It is also a developmental toxicity hazard and has been identified in human milk. Inhalation of toluene vapour affects the central nervous system causing slight drowsiness and headache at low levels and irritation of the nose, throat and respiratory tract at increased levels.

These ingredients can be absorbed into your body through your nails.  You also happen to inhale some of the fumes when you polish your nails, which can lead to toxicity. But, it does not mean that you have to completely stop painting your nails. Just go for the brands that have stopped using these chemicals in their products.


Image Source: Getty

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Though all possible measures have been taken to ensure accuracy, reliability, timeliness and authenticity of the information; Onlymyhealth assumes no liability for the same. Using any information of this website is at the viewers’ risk. Please be informed that we are not responsible for advice/tips given by any third party in form of comments on article pages . If you have or suspect having any medical condition, kindly contact your professional health care provider.

  • Riddhi15 Apr 2015

    I didn't know even nail paints contain harmful chemicals. I will read the labels before buying a new one now.

  • Pooja15 Apr 2015

    Thanks for the insights.

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