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Are Manicures Safe For Pregnancy?

Are Manicures Safe For Pregnancy?

The answer is... sort of. While manicures are generally safe during pregnancy, "there are a few details (about safety) that may pertain to you, depending on where you go and who does your nails." The majority of those details, unsurprisingly, have to do with the ingredients in most nail polishes.

Dibutyl pchthalate (DBP): DBP (try saying that three times fast) is in the phthalate family of chemicals, according to Chemical Safety Facts. It's traditionally been used in nail polish to minimize chipping, reported a blog post on the Ella + Mila website, which also outlined DBP's potential health risks (including endocrine disruption, impairment of the hormonal development of male fetuses, organ damage, and the potential to instigate early-onset menopause).

Toluene: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reported toluene as a toxic chemical "found naturally in crude oil and in the tolu tree... used in nail products to suspend the color and form a smooth finish across the nail." The site added that exposure to this chemical can contribute to "headaches, dizziness and cracked skin, as well as more serious effects such as reproductive damage and respiratory complications."

Formaldehyde: If you're like me, the first thing you think of when you hear the word "formaldehyde" is dissecting a frog in your high school science class. The solution the frog was preserved in: yup, formaldehyde.

So what's it doing in nail salons? As per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), formaldehyde is used as a hardening agent in polishes and nail hardeners, though using it frequently can actually cause your nails to become brittle and weak. In addition, the FDA noted it "may also cause skin irritation, as well as allergic reactions." But that's not all, as many worry formaldehyde can also lead to cancer, according to Women's Health.

Before you panic, it's important to note that most of these chemicals are considered to be safe if exposure is in small doses. But, the United States is also very far behind when it comes to regulating certain harmful ingredients in the health and beauty industry, and this is no exception. As noted by the Environmental Working Group, there hasn't been a major federal law regulating the chemicals used by cosmetics industry since 1938. That's why you need to take extra precautions when you're pregnant to help ensure the health and wellness of you and your baby as it relates to chemical exposure.

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Dr.Amber Goodall

Dr.Amber Goodall


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