Is Nail Polish Toxic for Your Body?

March 15th, 2012 by Tonya Zavasta

Healthy NailsRecently I watched the movie My Sister’s Keeper. The story focuses on two teenage girls, one of which, Kate, has leukemia. She’s in a hospital, where we see her aunt at her bedside painting the girl’s nails with a bright nail polish to cheer her up. The scene proclaims defiantly a girl’s gotta be a girl, deathbed notwithstanding. I squirmed: The doctor’s standing right there not objecting to this procedure.

It’s not that I have no sympathy with the urge to wear nail polish. I’m a girl, too. I used to wear that stuff. No more.

I can present you with a list of ingredients in your regular nail polish and talk about their toxicity. But do you really need to hear all that? Instead, come along with me to the nail salon. Been to one lately? You can literally sniff those chemicals when you park your car, even before you get in the door. When you do open the door, the powerful whiff hits you. And those ladies doing your nails wear masks—like soldiers in a chemical warfare. Is there any doubt nail polish is toxic?

Most of the time, I do my own manicures. When on rare occasions I do go to a salon, I always refuse polish, asking for nail buffing only. The buffer is a simple tool for polishing nails to make them look smooth and shiny. Easy procedure…good results…no harm done. I feel better about it, too—not only do I not get these toxins slapped on my nails, but the aesthetician has one less fifteen minute session of fumes to inhale.

Human nails are porous. They are meant to pass air and “breathe.” Like your skin, your nails need oxygen. Stick on a polish and a layer of clear-coat, and you’ve nearly completely impaired that function.

Moreover, nail polishes can cause problems both biological and aesthetic within your nails. Formaldehyde, an ingredient in many nail polishes, can react with the protein keratin in your nails, eventually creating that brittle, yellowish look. So if my little lecture on toxins and health won’t do it for you, maybe this concern about looks will.

As you embrace and move ever onward in a lifestyle founded on raw foods, your nails will start looking better and better. More on healthy nails here. Eventually, I predict, you’ll come, like me, to prefer the sight of healthy-looking “naked” nails. Nails tell tales about the state of your health. Why cover something that proclaims your own good health?

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