A Safer Manicure is at Your Fingertips

Date: 
Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Summertime means sunshine, sandals, and pretty nails. Follow these steps to beautify your fingers and toes while reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals.

1. Check the ingredient label and choose safer products

Polishes and lacquers

  • Choose polishes and lacquers that are labeled “three free” or “free of DBP, tolulene and formaldehyde.” These polishes can be found at some drug stores, nail salons, and online.
  • Avoid polishes and lacquers with dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) is linked to developmental and reproductive harm. Toulene is a developmental and neurological toxicant that can cause headaches and dizziness. Formaldehyde is linked to cancer and reproductive harm.

Nail Polish Removers

  • Choose removers that contain acetone or ethyl lactate.
  • Avoid nail polish removers with methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), which has been linked to asthma, developmental disorders, and reproductive harm.

2. Increase ventilation

Paint your nails outdoors or in a well-ventilated area to reduce inhalation of toxic chemicals.

3. Wear gloves

Wear reusable latex, nitrile, or rubber gloves to reduce the amount of chemicals absorbed into your skin.

Want to treat yourself? Leave it to the professionals!

If you would rather get your nails done at a salon, visit one of San Francisco’s Healthy Nail Salons, which use safer products and practices. If you’re getting your nails done outside of San Francisco, consider bringing your own “three free” polish to a salon.

Safely dispose of old nail polishes

If you are cleaning out your nail polish collection to dispose of polishes or removers that contain toxic ingredients, these products cannot go in any curbside bin because they can contaminate the environment. Schedule a home pickup for these items or drop them off at Recology’s facility