Pregnant women need a lot of pampering to compensate for all the physical and emotional changes that they experience during pregnancy. And a perfectly polished nail is one thing that seems to flatter us. However, as there is a lot of clamor regarding the health effects of some of the ingredients included in the nail polish colors, many expecting moms are having second thoughts.
Many have noted that nail polish and nail polish removers may contain chemicals that may be hazardous to the development of the fetus. As such, you should always be careful when choosing safe nails polish for pregnancy on your nails. Some of the compounds that may be present in the formulation include methyl methacrylate and acetonitrile (a chemical that is converted into cyanide when ingested).
Another common ingredient is called dibutyl phthalate (DBP). DBP is used in a number of skin care products for pregnancy, including many nail polish formulas. It is added to the formulation as it lessens the probability of the polish to chip or break. Phthalates are considered endocrine disruptors and are known to impair the hormonal development of male babies.
Toluene, a nail polish ingredient that gives the formula a smooth finish, is also a toxic substance that many nail polish manufacturers add to their formulas. This substance is linked to reproductive issues, blood cancers, and toxicity of the immune system.
Formaldehyde is yet another substance added to some nail polish products. It acts as a preservative and strengthens the formula making it possible to wear it longer. Studies have shown that repeated exposure to this chemical may cause certain cancers. It has also been linked to abnormal fetal development in some women.
Then, there is also camphor. This ingredient is added to some nail polish formulas to give them a shiny glow. Though the effect of using camphor is minimal, there have been instances when this has caused severe skin irritation. Reports also indicate that camphor may cause dizziness, a headache, and nausea.
With the recent developments in nail polish formulation, however, you may find that there are several nail polish products available in the market that are free of some of the chemicals mentioned that are suspected to cause birth defects.
In addition to that, the fact that the study linking nail polish to any dangerous health condition is quite limited. Moreover, there are health experts who claim that it is actually safe to have a manicure. It is suggested that you do this only after the 7th week of pregnancy. At this stage of the pregnancy, the baby is not yet fully developed, so special care is still needed.
The extent of the exposure to any of these volatile chemicals may vary depending on several factors, including the area where the manicure or pedicure was done, maintenance of the polished nails, as well as the other nail care products used in the process.
If you decide to have your nails done, make sure to consider the following:
- Have your nails done in a well-ventilated room. The bigger the space and the better chance that the air can pass through the lesser the possibility of exposing yourself and your baby to any chemicals in the polish.
- If you can bring your own polish, look for the safer options. There are nail polish formulas that are 3-Free or 5-Free. They can also be made to be vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, and fair trade. Applying these nail polish alternatives will not only be safe to your nails, but it will also make your nails to grow stronger and healthier.
- Find a polish that is long-wearing. If you can find a shade from the gel-type or the dip powder alternative, then find one of this type as they last longer on the nails (up to three weeks or more). Long-wearing nail polish colors mean less frequent salon visits or DIY manicures or pedicures. This also lessens the probability of exposure to any harmful elements.
- Always read the label. Know what is hiding on your nail care products. If you are not sure, consult a nail expert.
- Moisturize your nails before applying the nail polish. This will prevent the nails from drying out or cracking.
- Avoid nail polish remover with acetone. This product dries out nails and constant application of this product may, eventually, make the nails brittle and may cause it to split, break or peel off. A better option is to use a non-acetone polish remover.
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I am Emma Smith a freelance beauty and wellness writer. I graduated from New York University, where I studied English Literature and Creative Writing. After working in the beauty industry for several years, I decided to pursue my passion for writing about things related to beauty and health – from skincare tips to makeup tutorials to interviews with leading experts on the field. I have also done dermatology course ‘Dermatology: Trip to skin’ from Novosibirsk State University (NSU).
I love staying healthy by doing working out and yoga. I am mother of a beautiful baby girl, I spend most of my time caring for her while still managing work obligations.