What Happens To Your Body 10 Hours After Putting on Nail Polish

Fact checked
Nail polish contains a cornucopia of carcinogenic and hormone disrupting chemicals, according to researchers from Duke University.

Have you ever be in a nail salon and noticed the nail technicians wearing facial masks while working? Have you ever wondered why?

Sadly, even the most health-conscious among us tend to gloss over the toxic chemicals found in our favorite mass-produced commercial lacquers.

Researchers at Duke University tested for signs of endocrine-disrupting chemical toxins in 26 women after applying nail polish, and found dangerously heightened levels of Triphenyl phosphate in all of the study participants.

Healthy, Wild & Free reports:

Triphenyl Phosphate

This toxin can have a big effect on metabolism, hormone regulation, and reproductive organs. Because young girls’ reproductive organs, endocrine system, and hormones are still developing, they are at a greater risk of developing complications from triphenyl phosphate exposure. TPHP is also known to be a neurotoxin, skin irritant, endocrine toxin and something that negatively affects healthy reproductive organ development


Toluene is a clear solvent used in paint thinners, adhesives, fingernail polish, and gasoline. Toluene, which evaporates quickly, has also been found in breast milk after the mother has been exposed. Toluene may have an effect on your nervous system and cause headaches, dizziness, and unconsciousness.

Dibutyl Phthalate

Some nail polish brands use Dibutyl phthalate as an alternative to TPHP, but it’s just as dangerous and causes the following health risks:

  • Hormonal disruption
  • Irregular reproductive organ growth
  • Reproductive system toxicity


Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that dissolves into the air. Exposure to the chemical can lead to:

  • Asthma
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Soar throat
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fainting
  • Burning of the eyes
  • Long periods of exposure to formaldehyde have also been linked to many forms of cancer and lung disease.

Natural Nail Polish Alternatives

While there are better alternatives, there are no natural or organic nail polishes currently on the market. There are, of course, brands that are free from the aforementioned toxins but do not mistake the lack of harmful ingredients and think they are without their cautions. When it comes down to it, we ladies just need to decide if painting our nails is THAT important.

Honeybee Gardens is water based, doesn’t contain alcohol or traces of harmful chemicals.

Aquarella is also water based and has over 50 colors to choose from.

SpaRitual is Vegan and free of the above chemicals.

Peacekeeper Cause-Medics is toxin free and infused with argan oil.

Remember, always read the fine print on the label!