Is Your Nail Polish Making You Fat, Wrecking Your Hormones, or Both?

If you’re anything like me, you walk a fine line between wanting to be girly, but wanting to avoid chemicals at the same time.  They can seem so polar opposite, right?

Being girly = loads of make-up, hair coloring, gorgeous nails all the time and feeling great about how you look, but questioning what its doing your health.

Avoiding chemicals = zero make-up, dull hair, colorless nails, and feeling great about your health, but not how you look.

I used to be all girl.  The whole package – hair, nails, make-up – and lots of it.

But then I started learning about how horrible these things were for my health and I started to make some changes. 

For example, I stopped coloring my hair, I wear less make-up, I dropped the perfume, and I switched to more natural shampoos, conditioners, and deodorants.

Oh, and I stopped going nail salons. They creep me out. The toxic smell is one obvious reason, but even if you bring your own tools, you’re still foot bathing with a million other strangers’ feet. Blech.

Hmmm, let’s see . . . paint my own toes or catch a foot fungus?


Sure there are “natural salons” that use less toxic (hopefully) nail polish, but at 100 bucks a pop, I think I’d rather just paint my toes myself. 

That is, until I read this study.

In this study, researchers at EWG and Duke University decided to find out if any chemicals are getting into a woman’s body when they paint their toenails. So they decided to test the urine of twenty-six women who had recently painted their nails for a metabolite of a well-known hormone disrupting chemical called triphenyl phosphate (TPHP).  Specifically there were looking for a metabolite of that chemical, DPHP. 

I know that’s a lot of P’s and H’s but follow me on this one.

In this study, 24 of the 26 women had elevated levels of DPHP in their urine between two to six hours after they painted their nails!  But you think that’s bad?  It gets worse.  The urinary level of DPHP rose to seven times higher after 10 hours to 14 hours.

Hold the phone?!

You mean simply painting my toe nails, I am absorbing chemicals that could then be detected in my urine. Gross!

So what actually are we absorbing?

Triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) is commonly used to make plastics and fire retardants. (Lovely, if we ever caught on fire, our nails would survive, and still look great!) The good folks at the nail polish companies decided to put TPHP in our nail polish to replace a similar chemical that was banned as a health hazard.

It turns out that TPHP is not only a suspected hormone disruptor but more recently, it is being evaluated for its effects on fat cells and metabolism, and it doesn’t look good.

That’s right ladies. Your mani/pedis are not only wrecking your hormones and possibly contributing to cancer, but they may be making you fat.

This study  suggests TPHP is not only obesogenic (makes us fat) and wrecks our metabolism, but might actually stop bone formation possibly leading to osteoporosis.

Seriously!?  Painting my toe nails may make me fatter and my bones weaker?

**Clunk . . . clunk . . . clunk-clunk-clunk** 

That was the sound of me throwing my nail polish in the trash can.  Why?  I was using some of the biggest offenders – OPI, Essie – but there were many more. (For a complete list, go here.)

However, there’s good news - you can still have painted toenails and not wreck your health, too!

Fortunately there are some responsible nail polish companies that are making a stand for our health by keeping the chemicals out of their polishes.

My favorite is Honeybee Gardens – it’s affordable, free of all those harmful chemicals, and it looks as good as the most popular brands.

And for the little girls, check out Piggy Paint. I’m in love with this non-toxic, eco-friendly nail polish that’s kid-friendly and made in the USA. (If you don’t care about chemicals for yourself, please use this for your daughters.)

Seriously ladies . . . I used to be a girly girl myself.  I get it.  I’ve been there (so very there in fact).  But is risking tomorrow’s health on looking good today worth it?  Not in a million years.  Especially when there are better, non-toxic, and healthier alternatives out there.  So whaddaya say? Ready to join me in tossing our name-brand nail polish?

Want to win a free bottle of nail polish from Honeybee Gardens? If you toss your nail polish today & leave a comment about it you'll be entered to win a free bottle! Winner will be selected by random generator on November 1st by midnight!