Ingredientes a evitar en el esmalte de uñas este verano

7 ingredients to avoid in your nail polish this summer

Doy you know which ingredients you should avoid in your nail polish? These are the first ingredients you should start avoiding in your nail polishes.

What ingredients should not contain my nail polish?

1. Ftalato de dibutilo, DBP o 1. Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)

EDibutyl Phthalate (DBP) is an ingredient that makes nail polishes in your nail polish para hacerlo más more flexible and prevent it from cracking. In addition, it is also used to fix aromas in cosmetic products.

Studies show that exposure to phthalates harms the reproductive and endocrine systems, decreasing fertility (Lloyd y Foster 1988, Parmar et al. 1995), especially the masculine (Harrison et al. 1997), since phthalates “they act directly on testosterone, decreasing its production” (Bustamante-Montes et al., 2001, p. 210).

therefore, DBP is an endocrine disruptor, since it destabilizes the hormonal system.

Also, phthalates can be toxic to the embryo when absorbed through the skin. 

Anyway, the use of this type of phthalate, DBP, is banned in the European Union. The European Union already prohibited in Regulation 1223/2009 the use of some phthalates in cosmetics products.

2. Toluene

Toluene is an ingredient that is used as a solvent in nail polishes.

Toluene is a possible neurotoxic. Studies carried out in nail salonsshow that exposure to toluene appears to be associated with symptoms such as fatigue, concentration problems, decreased dexterity and visual cognitive ability.

  • On the other hand, inhalation of toluene causes respiratory tract irritation. Studies conducted with workers chronically exposed to tolueneshow that toluene causes lung damage and emphysema in people who are regularly in contact with this substance.
  • The use of toluene in cosmetic products is not forbidden in the European Union, but its use is not very common today.

3. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde acts as a preservative and sterilizer. In addition to being used on plywood and boards, this ingredient is also added to nail polishes to give a “hardening” effect.

What are its dangers? Formaldehyde can be irritating to the skin and harmful to the respiratory tract.

Studies carried out on people regularly exposed to formaldehyde, such as industrial workers and embalmers, suggest that formaldehyde could be carcinogenic, especially to the organs of the respiratory tract.    

Since June 2019, the use of formaldehyde in the European Union is forbidden in cosmetics products (Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009). Sanidad ordenó la retirada de esmaltes de uñas por contener formaldehido.

4. Formaldehyde resin

Formaldehyde resin (Tosylamide/Formaldehyde Resin) is an ingredient used to extend the life and shine of nail polish.

The use of formaldehyde resin in the EU is restricted. If the concentration of formaldehyde resin exceeds 0.05%, it must be indicated on the product label.

5. Xylene

Xylene is a solvent that prevents nail polish from becoming sticky.

The main problem with xylene is that it is a possible neurotoxic. The effects of xylene on the nervous system are dose dependent. They can range from dizziness or headaches, to loss of balance, vomiting, or drowsiness. 

In addition, it is irritating to the skin, eyes and lungs.

6. Camphor (champhor)

Camphor is a crystalline compound, naturally produced from the bark of trees, Cinnamomum camphora L.. It is a creamy substance, with a very characteristic pungent odor, which is why it is used as a nasal decongestant, antiseptic, and insecticide.

However, it can cause seizures, irritability, confusion, upset stomach, and some other disorders related to the central nervous system.

In addition, some studies suggest that it produces alterations in male reproductive and thyroid hormones.

7. Parabens

Of the most commonly avoided ingredients.

Los parabens they are used as preservatives and are suspected of being endocrine disruptors. Its reliability began to be discussed in 2004, when traces of parabens were found in 90% of cancerous tissue samples. Others demonstrated that 70% of lactating women had milk contaminated with parabens (Rodríguez-Gómez et al., 2015). Also, these chemicals can cause allergic skin reactions.

In 2014, the European Union banned certain types of parabens, such as isopropylparaben and isobutylparaben, phenylparaben, benzylparaben o pentylparaben.

However, there are others that are still allowed in the EU.

What does "3-free" mean in nail polishes?

"3-free" nail polishes «3-free» are those that are free of 3 ingredients suspected of being harmful to health:

  1. 1. Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) Dibutyl phtalate (DBP)
  2. Formaldehyde (Formaldehído)
  3. Toluene (Tolueno)

"4-free· nail polishes are also free from:

What are "7-free" nail polishes?

"7-free" nail polishes7-free» do not contain the 7 ingredients mentioned in this article:

  1. Dibutyl Phthalate
  2. Toluene
  3. Formaldehyde
  4. Formaldehyde resin
  5. Xylene
  6. Camphor
  7. Parabens

Conclusions: how to avoid these ingredients in nail polish

It is true that many nail polish brands that advertise themselves as "3-free" or "4-free" are not really adding value, but , but only practically complying with current cosmetic legislation.

In any case, although there are ingredients that are already being regulated in the EU, such as DBP or formaldehyde, it is convenient to continue analyzing the ingredients of our nail polish, since the commercialization of, for example, certain types of phthalates or parabens is still allowed.

Just like we look for healthier products for our skin and hair, we should consider what we are applying in our nails.

In my case, it makes me much more confident to use nail polishes with a formulation that is as "clean" as possible, with safer ingredients, because when applying nail polish or, inadvertently, modernizing nails, it is one of the products that the more danger it has of being ingested.

I would recommend looking for safer alternatives from natural cosmetic brands and Clean Beauty.

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