Your Nail Polish Is Making You Fat (Really)

Decorated digits never looked so unappealing…

A concerning new study co-authored by researchers at Duke University and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found our nail polish habit may be making us fat.

Researchers tested the urine of 26 participants before and after painting their nails with polish that contained triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP (a common nail polish chemical), and found it present in the samples taken from every woman tested.

TPHP, which is used to give nail polish its flexible quality, can also be found in plastics manufacturing and as a fire retardant in foam furniture, and has been widely recognized as a possible endocrine disruptor. Endocrine disruptors interfere with normal hormone functioning and have been shown to cause reproductive and developmental abnormalities.

Alarmingly, when participants were then tested again 10-14 hours after painting their nails, all 26 had an increase in DPHP (a chemical that indicates TPHP has been processed in the body) levels by nearly seven times.

Forty-nine per cent of more than 3,000 nail polishes compiled in EWG’s database disclose they contain TPHP, though not all polishes that contain the chemical are forthright in revealing it.

Study co-author Kate Hoffman additionally noted that TPHP exposure could be higher in women using both a base coat and a colored polish.

“As clear nail polishes are often used as a base coat or top coat, some individuals may be simultaneously exposed to TPHP in both colored polish and clear polish,” Hoffman warned.

Endocrine-disrupting toxins like TPHP are thought to interfere with our body’s ability to balance blood sugar and metabolize cholesterol, which can lead to insulin resistance, weight gain and even obesity with continued consumption over time.

Though more research needs to be done into the effects of chemicals on our bodies, it’s estimated that 60 to 80 per cent of what we apply to our nails, skin and hair is absorbed into our bloodstream; so where possible, it’s best to minimize potential harm by saving nail polish for special occasions and opting for natural, paraben-free skin, hair and makeup products wherever possible.

Comment: Do you try to buy natural beauty products?