5 Nail Polish Chemicals Which Cause Harm To Skin & Nails and Tips To Use Nail Polish Without Harming Your Nails

Wearing nail paint or nail polish may make you feel attractive, but the harmful effects the nail paint gives to your skin and nails can actually be very worrisome. Nail polish weakens the nails and leads to nail discoloration, breakage and dryness of the nails and the skin. So yes, wearing nail polish can be harmful for skin and nails.

Nails are made of dead keratin, which does not need to breathe, but if constantly covered with chemicals such as present in nail paint or nail polish can weaken the nails. The nail polish contains chemicals, such as formaldehyde, phthalates, acetone, toluene, and benzophenones, which are toxic not only to the nails and skin, but to the whole body. Exposure to these chemicals present in nail polish can damage the nervous system, hormones, and also have been linked with cancer and fertility problems.

5 Nail Polish Chemicals Which Cause Harm To Skin & Nails

5 Nail Polish Chemicals Which Cause Harm To Skin & Nails

Toluene, formaldehyde, and phthalate are the biggest risk-causing chemicals present in the nail polish or nail paint. Harmful properties of some of the chemicals present in the nail polish are.

  • Toluene is a chemical whose purpose is to stop the color from separating in the bottle of nail polish. This chemical makes the nail polish get easily distributed across the nails. Toluene present in nail paint can harm the reproductive system, cause dry nails and dry or cracked skin.
  • Formaldehyde is a chemical used to disinfect and is in fact used on dead bodies. Formaldehyde is also present in nail polish and inhaling it or letting your skin come in contact with Formaldehyde can be very dangerous and can even cause cancer.
  • Dibutyl phthalate is a banned adhesive, which was used in the toys made for children and is used in nail paint. Along with harming the nails and skin, Dibutyl phthalate also is harmful to the endocrine and the male reproductive system. Long term use of Dibutyl phthalate can cause serious complications.
  • Acetone in the nail polish remover can cause irritated eyes, skin, and throat. Acetone can also lead to headache and dizziness.
  • Methacrylic acid is present in nail primer and can lead to irritation in the eyes, skin, nose, mouth, and throat. Methacrylic acid present in nail polish can also cause difficulty in breathing.

Tips To Use Nail Polish Without Harming Your Nails

Bearing all these toxic effects does not mean that you completely stop using the nail paint. You can check for the toxicity and can make a choice for those nail paints with lower toxic value. Here are a few precautions for your safety which can be followed if you love colourful nails and cannot resist applying nail polish to them.

Apply Nail Polish in a Well-Ventilated Room. Always apply nail polish in a well-ventilated room. This ways the fumes from the nail polish present in it would not be inhaled by you.

Take A Break Now And Then From Your Nail Polish. Keep the nails free from the paint for at least a few days in a month. Wearing nail polish too often can weaken the nail bed. So if you are among those who are in not in a habit of keeping naked nails, give your nails at least 2 or 3 days break from the nail paint.

Avoid Frequent Swapping of Nail Polish. Do not swap the nail polish frequently, as this can help you in avoiding the nail polish remover, which contains acetone. Or else go with the acetone-free options. Acetone leads to the drying effect on the nails and the skin.

Apply A Base Coat. Be sure to apply a base coat before wearing any color nail polish. This can prevent the nails from turning yellow.

Stay Away from Darker Shades of Nail Polish. Avoid darker shades of nail polish, as those are the ones which stain your nails and make them blotchy. If you really want to apply dark nail polish, then do not forget to apply the base coat first.


Everything is good in moderation; including the use of nail polish. Too much of lacquer obsession can be harmful. You can always give nail polish a miss for a month in those 365 days for your life for your own benefit.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 24, 2019

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