The Hidden Health Costs of Beautiful Nails

, , , ,

health effects of nail polish

I receive numerous health newsletters, scientific findings and special interest updates on a regular basis. Sometimes one just hits a “pause” button in me and has me question a habit I have incorporated in my life. This time was around the hidden health costs of having beautiful nails. The headline was “Nail polish users exposed to chemical linked to paralysis and reproductive disorders”. I have used natural organic body and oral products and make up for years however throughout the summer months, I still add beautiful colour to my toe nails and often use clear polish on my finger nails. Oh dear, now that I am in that shifting menopausal time of life, I seem to be extra sensitive to chemicals which means I have new choices to make.

As I read on I learned that American women spent a whopping $768 million on nail polish in 2012, a 32% increase over the previous year. The ingredient highlighted in this study is TPHP or triphenyl phosphate, a plasticizer used in nail polish and as a flame retardant for furniture. There is a growing body of scientific data that indicates that TPHP causes endocrine disruption, meaning it interferes with the normal hormone functioning. Some of the top-selling brands that include TPHP are:

• Sally Hansen • OPI
•Revlon • Maybelline
• Essie • SpaRitual
• Milani • theBalm
• Orly • Beauty without Cruelty

Butter LONDON advised the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that it removed TPHP from its products last year so make sure you read labels carefully to ensure you have the new formulation. The good news is we have an alternative. No nail polish is completely natural, but the most important thing to look for are brands that are “3-free,” meaning they don’t use toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) or formaldehyde, which are all known carcinogens. Some brands also describe themselves as “5-free” when they don’t use formaldehyde resin or camphor in addition to those above. Some of these brands to look for:

Areas of Treatment including but not limited to:

• Zoya • Suncoat
• Piggy Paint • Honeybee Gardens
• RGB • Sheswal

See more details by clicking here.

Environmental Working Group

click for more info

I know it can get overwhelming for us to detoxify our households so like all changes, make them one step at a time. I referenced EWG above, which stands for the Environmental Working Group. This website is rich with information on the ingredients for many of our favourite products.  Do your research and make informed decisions. I think I am ready to clear my cupboards of the old chemical nail polish brands and start fresh. My body deserves it.

What is your experience? Please share it here with me and the readers. Together we can educate each other. Feel free to connect with me by email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Join in the conversation on Facebook too!

Until next time,


[xyz-ihs snippet=”CALL”]

4 replies
  1. Karen says:

    Very good and thanks for bringing awareness to this. I will ask my manicurist to invest in getting some of the 3 free products.

  2. Marianna says:

    I send this article to my daughter, she has her nails done practically every week. Her kids 7 & 8 year old girls use nail polish regular with glitter etc. I can not believe the kids go to a beauty parlor for kids to have their nails done and also toenails. I gave them a saver nail polish for kids but I am not sure if they still use his.
    My daughter is always tired and gets regular colds I wonder if this has something to do with it? I do not think she will listen to me but at least I can make her aware off it.
    I never use any off it because off my health my nails were a mess, now that I feel a lot better and I take dail silica my nails are so much better. I do not want to ruin that with nail polish.

    • Karen Armstrong says:

      I am sure you are not alone in wanting to share health tips with someone you care about that and not sure how it will be accepted. All we can do is try to share the information that we get and hope that each of us get to be more educated in our decisions instead of falling into the marketing trap. Thank you for sharing Marianna and thank you for being such a wise woman, you never know when it might take root! I learn from you too!



Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.