A look at the effects of nail polish on the health and safety of nails


In latest years, the nail polish trade has been reworked by the improvement of extra sturdy nail polish strategies. As dermatologists, we are sometimes requested about the effects of these completely different merchandise on nails. Here, we evaluation the major sorts of nail polish and look at the professionals and cons of every with a watch on nail health and safety.

Traditional nail polish

The traditional nail polish is painted on the nail plate, normally in a number of layers, and then air dried. Conventional nail polish is a polymer dissolved in a solvent. During the drying course of, the solvent evaporates and the polymer cures. The "hybrid" varnish is analogous. it’s utilized and eliminated in the similar manner as an extraordinary varnish, however it’s supposed to last more.


Quickly and simply eliminated with a solvent based mostly acetone. Since acetone could be laborious, dry out and broken, much less contact time may cause much less injury to plaque, pores and skin and cuticles.

The inconvenients:

Some colours, particularly darker colours, might trigger non-permanent nail fading.

The verdict: Dermatologist permitted. We suggest taking intermittent breaks from the nail polish and protecting the nails and cuticles properly hydrated between the manicures. Always take away the nail polish earlier than an appointment along with your dermatologist in order that he can look at your nails.

Nontoxic nail polish

When it involves cosmetics, the time period "nontoxic" could be tough to decipher. With regard to nail polish, a time period generally used is "without five". Five is known to confer with lacquers that don’t include 5 particular components: formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde resin and camphor. There are additionally manufacturers that promote as being free of extra substances, equivalent to 7-free or 10-free.

Formaldehyde is a preservative acknowledged by the National Cancer Institute as a substance that may doubtlessly trigger most cancers. It can be one of the commonest substances inflicting allergic contact dermatitis. Formaldehyde resin, dibutyl phthalate and toluene may also trigger allergic contact dermatitis. Camphor is an oil that has lengthy been used as a topical treatment for numerous situations, however could also be poisonous if consumed by the mouth.

Studies have proven that the chemical substances in nail polish could be absorbed by the physique. But the precise quantity of absorption, and if it is sufficient to have adverse effects on health, just isn’t properly established. In basic, the query of whether or not "natural" cosmetics are safer and more healthy stays, as said in an editorial printed in JAMA Dermatology.


straightforward removing course of much like extraordinary varnish
comprises fewer chemical substances that may trigger contact dermatitis; could also be a very good possibility for delicate pores and skin.

The inconvenients:

There aren’t any dependable analysis information to find out whether or not chemical substances excluded from non-toxic paints have dangerous health effects at concentrations present in conventional nail polishes.

The verdict: This could also be a very good different to standard sprucing for these wishing to keep away from these explicit chemical substances, though the health advantages are unsure.

Varnish gel

The gel varnish is painted, then "hardened" underneath a lamp, which dries and hardens the varnish nearly immediately. Polymerization of nail polish means photopolymerization, a course of during which a liquid absorbs the power of UV rays or seen gentle and undergoes crosslinking to turn into a strong. Most curing lights emit ultraviolet A gentle, which is a identified trigger of cell injury and growing older, and will increase the danger of pores and skin most cancers. There are different lamps that emit LED gentle; However, they’ll nonetheless emit UV gentle.


extra sustainable

The inconvenients:

publicity to ultraviolet rays
The course of of eradicating the gel polish could be damaging to the nails. The removing entails soaking in acetone and sprucing, scraping and peeling the varnish aggressively, which may injury the nail plate.
Wearing sprucing gel for lengthy durations of time may cause nice fragility and dryness of the nails.

The verdict: It is unlikely that gel polish could have long-term adverse effects on nail health if used sporadically or on particular events. Remind your nail technician to keep away from aggressive sprucing (at all times keep away from electrical sprucing) and don’t scratch the nail plate with power. Never peel or take away the gel polish; This might peel off layers of the nail plate with the varnish, which might trigger fragility. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes earlier than UV remedy or put on fingerless gloves when underneath the lamp.

Powder coating varnish

This manicure entails the software of a binding varnish (composed of a resin usually composed of chemical substances utilized in the glue) which serves as an adhesive varnish. Then, a finely floor acrylic powder is utilized, both by dipping the nail into the powder or by brushing it on the nail. Finally, an activator is utilized. It is a liquid containing chemical substances that induce the polymerization of the bonding varnish containing resin, leaving a tough shell.


No drying lamp wanted, so no UV publicity.

The inconvenients:

Sanitation is the major potential downside right here. Communal powder pots can be utilized for many individuals, which might turn into a reservoir of micro organism, fungi and viruses.
A extreme elimination course of much like that of the gel, usually with the use of an electrical file, can injury the nail plate and cuticle.

The verdict: Unless a salon does switch the powder into smaller and particular person containers for every buyer or makes use of a clear brush to use the powder, we suggest avoiding this sort of manicure.

Follow us on Twitter @KristinaLiuMD and @JanelleNassim

A look at the effects of nail polish on nail health and safety first appeared on the Harvard Health weblog.



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