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7 Toxic Chemical Ingredients to Avoid in Nail Polish

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As more and more people are choosing to live a more natural life, they’re looking to change up old habits, and this includes taking a closer look at their beauty routines. One beauty product has flown under the health radar for far too long but in an effort to “green” their beauty routine, many people are becoming aware of the harmful ingredients present in traditional nail polishes. Unless labeled otherwise, most nail polishes contain a few toxic chemical ingredients including the so-called “toxic trio”.

Even though we’re putting nail polish on our bodies rather than in it, these toxins can still be absorbed into our body, which is something many people would like to avoid. Read on to learn about these harmful toxic ingredients, their possible effects on your health and how to read your nail polish labels to avoid them in the future…


1. Formaldehyde

One component of the “toxic trio”, formaldehyde is probably best known in the setting of a morgue or taxidermist, where it’s used in embalming fluid to preserve human and animal tissue. It’s also commonly used in building materials, plastics and you guessed it…nail polish. In nail polish, formaldehyde serves as a hardener, strengthener and also as a preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria.

While our bodies do produce a minuscule amount of formaldehyde naturally, the US National Toxicology Program describes formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen. With repeated or prolonged exposure in the air or on the skin, this substance is known to cause cancer of the blood, throat and nose. Other negative health impacts can be asthma, nausea, fluid build up in the lungs and dangerous implications for pregnant women. The European Union limits the amount of this chemical substance in personal care products and both Sweden and Japan have banned its use all together. Nail polish labeled either “5 Free” or “3 Free” will not contain formaldehyde.


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