Hold Your Breath

Ever go to get a manicure and walk in to see all the technicians with masks on? This leads me to believe something about the chemicals in nail polish or something must be dangerous to our health. The stench from nail polish and nail polish removal has always worried me. I try to open a window or door when doing my nails because the scent automatically makes me feel like there is something in nail polish I should not inhale too much of. Also, at one point, I read something on a bottle that said to use in a well ventilated area. Why?



Much to my surprise, a big concern is not about the inhalation. Anna Almendrala references a study in which diphenyl phosphate, DHPH, which is a result of the chemical triphenyl phosphate, TPHP, was higher in women who had nail polish put onto their natural nail in somparison with fake nails. Almendrala says this is bad because DHPH could have reproductive issues. Megan Friedman also says TPHP leads to weight gain. If this is the case, the problem is an easy fix. Just getting acrylic nails instead of your natural nails polished should solve all the issues because the chemical will not be absorbed, at least not according to the study Almendrala referenced. This is a good discovery, but I wonder what else there is to it.

There are many other chemicals used in nail polish that potentially have harmful risks. Wellness Mama lists risks from toulene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate ranging from cancer to reproductive and organ trouble. It is hard to imagine being in a profession that requires being around all of these chemicals on a day to day basis. The United States Department of Labor lists many health risks of acetone exposure, which is the main ingridient of nail polish remover. I have personally got light headed when removing nail polish, but it was a very small effect. Because this is so short term, I do not worry about it. I continue to use nail polish remover, so it obviously has not negatively impacted me on a large scale. Muirwood Adolescent and Family Services points out some kids use nail polish remover to get high. They say that over time, this can actually mess up normal breathing patterns. Clearly acetone can be dangerous if abused, but so can most chemicals.

After learning all this information, I do not think I will change my nail painting patterns. I do not go over board with nail polish, so I do not think I experience enough exposure for adverse side effects to occur in my body. If anyone is concerned about the harmfulness of nail polish and nail polish remover, there is a super easy solution. Thankfully, we can control, in most situations, whether we are exposed to nail polish. Make the choice based on an informed mind.

1 thought on “Hold Your Breath

  1. Hannah Elizabeth Welty

    Isn’t it funny that the technicians cover up but the customers are left to thier own devices? There are more issues than just a contaminated air though. Some studies suggest that infections with fungus and irritation have been rampant through Arkansas nail salons! The biggest issue is that tools such as nail files and pumice stones are being reused between customers, yuck. The whole story might deter you from ever getting those french tips again

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