Safer Nail Polish Ingredients Lewisham

Formaldehyde (also called formalin) may cause allergic reactions in some people and is unsafe for use by asthmatic people. It is a known carcinogen - that is, it definitely does cause cancer. It is still used in some nail products, though it is being replaced in many brands because of health concerns.

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Safer Nail Polish Ingredients

Nail Polish Ingredients - Should We be Worried?

Nail polish ingredients: what's all the fuss about? It seems a simple thing, to put a little colour on your nails, doesn't it?

But some nail varnish ingredients are deeply suspect from a health viewpoint. And some nail polish ingredients are even causing concern because of their effects upon the environment.

Are there safer ingredients for nail polish? What are they and where can we find the products that contain them? This article tries to provide a few pointers.

But first... what's wrong with ordinary nail polish ingredients anyway?

First a little history...

Nail polish has a long history stretching back about 5000 years. It was first developed by the Chinese. They used mainly harmless ingredients such as beeswax, egg white and vegetable dyes.

The ancient Egyptians used henna and other natural products to colour their nails. Only the highest ranking people were allowed to wear bright red nail polish and you could tell a person's social staus from the colour they wore.

Modern synthetic nail polishes are a relatively recent innovation.

Nitrocellulose, or gun cotton was developed in the 19th century. It is highly combustible and even explosive but it creates films which can hold other substances in suspension. It is the basis for most nail polishes. It also used to be the main constituent of cine film.

Some early 20th century nail varnishes even used scrapped cine film as the main raw ingredient. No wonder some old films have completely disappeared!

Picture above thanks to Bludado

These are the main things you find among modern nail polish ingredients:

solvents and drying agents;
thickeners and hardening agents;
and a whole host of ingredients which give the polish its desirable appearance - colours and sheens.

The main nail polish ingredients giving cause for concern are solvents such as toluene and formaldehyde, and phthalates such as dibutyl phthalate.

There are also dyes, synthetic preservatives and fragrances which give cause for concern, too.

First the solvents

Nail polish ingredients often include toluene.

Solvents such as toluene and xylene are petroleum-based products that have been linked to cancer.

According to Skindeep, the EWG analysts, there are 17 separate health concerns about toluene. These include risks to human reproduction and development, being carcinogenic (cancer causing) and being damaging to the immune system. Quite a list.

Toluene is also classed as unsafe according to the International Fragrance Association.

Formaldehyde (also called formalin) may cause allergic reactions in some people and is unsafe for use by asthmatic people. It is a known carcinogen - that is, it definitely does cause cancer. It is still used in some nail products, though it is being replaced in many brands because of health concerns.

Other organic solvents…

Click here to read more from Green Footsteps

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