You’re Soaking in It…Nicer Nails

Oh Madge…

This and so many other ads from the past, make me reflect on how often we’re given a call to action without ever bothering to look beyond the surface.  The dish soap may be the best thing since sliced bread but consumers will rarely do their homework when they feel a TV spot has done it for them.

Back in 2000, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) studied the different types and levels of toxic chemicals found in people.  They found seven different types of phthalates in all but found that everyone had a particular type called dibutyl phtalate (DBP).  They also found that women between the ages of 20-40 had the highest levels of DBP in their systems.  These are women in the critical child bearing years carrying serious levels of a chemical that is known to cause birth defects and reproductive disorders.  While the CDC couldn’t say with 100% clarity (we’ve heard this before), they placed the blame on cosmetics and personal care products.

The FDA does not require manufacturers to list DBP in products and if you look closely at the ingredient labels you’ll find it popping up in hair sprays, gels, skin lotions, perfumes and deodorants.  That’s not to say that all products contain DBP, but those that do often have alarming levels.  One of the worst offenders is nail polish.

Nail polish is one of my weaknesses.  I bare my toes a lot and like to have them polished.  It’s been the hardest substance to kick.  But when I think about the two-punch effect of doing your nails, it does raise flags.  Not only are you coating on a couple of layers of DBP and most likely formaldehyde (the adhesive agent used to make it stick and not chip) which is a neurotoxin and carcinogen – check out the most recent incident report from hurricane Katrina victims who moved to temporary homes oozing with the stuff, but to remove it (in the same session) you’re soaking up acetone, toluene and whatever other ingredients are cut into the unlabelled salon dispensers.

There is hope…

Check the bottles.  Some major brands are starting to sell nail polish that does not contain DBP or formaldehyde.  Some of the fast drying formulas appear to be free of the worst offending toxins.  The safest bet is to go with water based colours if you can deal with the temporary nature of it.  Suncoat is a Canadian brand.  I’ve tried a light shade (French Pink) to test the product and found it worked well.  I have yet to delve into the deeper colours for fear that it’s just not worth having bad colour over no colour.

I recently bought some PiggyPaint for my daughter (Forever Fancy) and I can confirm that it is completely safe and a ton of fun.   At the Green Living show here in Toronto I took pictures of a Styrofoam plate they had displayed showing how normal nail polish literally burnt holes through the plate while the water-based piggy paint acted like a simple coat of colour – isn’t that what we buy into?

Natural removers use ingredients like corn alcohol and aloe vera extract.  It’s effective and leaves you feeling so much better.

In the thick of my detox I went completely natural and used almond oil a few times a day.  My nails were never pinker, healthier and stronger.  Remember, anything and everything we put on our hair, skin and nails is absorbed into the blood stream.

Read the labels!

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