So you avoid eating ready-made food, preservatives and additives… you don’t like taking drugs… you shun weedkillers and chemicals in your garden. Yet you never think twice about coating your toenails in nail varnish.
Think again. Nail polish typically contains a cocktail of chemicals that were actually quite a shocker to us when we discovered them at The Natural Health Hub. So many of us spend summer enjoying letting our toes out in a variety of bright and breezy colours. However, not only are you coating your tootsies in nasties, you’re also potentially trapping all sorts of fungal potential beneath those nail polishes.
The US-banned ‘toxic three’ – and more
Toxic chemicals nail varnishes can contain include:
Included as a hardener and preservative in nail polish, formaldehyde is an unpleasant chemical used to preserve dead bodies. As well as causing irritation to eyes, nose, throat and the skin (dermatitis), it can trigger asthma. It is considered a carcinogen by the International Agency on Research on Cancer.
- Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
Used as a plasticiser to increase the flexibility and shine of the polish, dibutyl phthalate has been banned in polishes in Europe because of its link to birth defects. It’s a developmental and reproductive toxin that causes a number of birth defects in lab animals, primarily in male offspring.
A chemical used to help polishes flow, to give a flat, even finish, and to stop the colour separating in the bottle, toluene has been removed from drinking water because of research linking it to liver and kidney failure. It affects the central nervous system and can cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue. It is also a possible reproductive and developmental toxin, with exposure to toluene fumes during pregnancy thought possibly to impair foetal development.
Another ingredient included as a plasticiser, this strong-smelling chemical is a potential irritant, used in muscle rubs for its minty tingling sensation on the skin.
- Formaldehyde resin
Included in most nail products, this helps make the polish hard, resilient and shiny when it dries. However, it can cause dermatitis.
Reports indicate that inhaling xylene vapour can depress the central nervous system.
The most widely used preservative in cosmetics and toiletries (in 85% of products), parabens stop fungus, bacteria and other microbes growing in your face cream or deodorant. They are, however, of possible concern as xenoestrogens (chemicals that mimic oestrogen in the body) and scientists have found a high paraben content in breast cancer tumours. Which is why an increasing number of deodorants and other cosmetics are now paraben-free.
This very powerful solvent, though highly effective for removing polish, is also very harsh because it removes a lot of natural oils from nails, cuticles skin and is extremely drying.
Such is the level of concern about some of these ingredients that the city of San Francisco enacted a city ordinance in 2011 publicly identifying establishments that use nail polishes free of the ‘toxic trio’ of toluene, dibutyl phthalate and formaldehyde. Nail polish is also considered a hazardous waste by some regulatory bodies such as the Los Angeles Department of Public Works. And many countries place restrictions on sending nail polish by mail, in case bottles break.
Our toxin-free range: reasons to use Dr’s Remedy nailcare
Because of these concerns we’re great advocates of the Dr’s Remedy nailcare range at The Hub. As well as being free from all the toxins mentioned above, they are not tested on animals, are vegan friendly and contain a range of organic ingredients.
- tea tree oil and garlic bulb extract to prevent fungal growth
- enriching wheat protein and Vitamins C & E to strengthen weak nails and prevent discolouration and cracking
The Dr’s Remedy collection is particularly recommended for:
- yellow, discoloured nails
- dry, brittle nails
- pregnant women and anyone else looking to avoid harsh chemicals
Dr’s Remedy is the first and only nail polish to receive the American Podiatric Medical Association seal of approval. As well as a cool selection of summer colours, the range includes an acetone-free polish remover, Hydration Nail moisture treatment with biotin and B Vitamins to improve nail strength and durability, plus Total Two-in-One (base and topcoat in one, or a one-coat nail protector) which contains biotin, cactus, ginseng and kale for added hydration.
Reasonably priced at £12.95 per pot, the nail polishes nourish your nails and inhibit fungal growth while also, in our view, looking pretty damned lovely! Get painting those nails safe in the knowledge you’re not doing them any harm…