Allergic Reaction to Nail Polish…

By staff

…doesn’t mean you can’t have elegant looking fingernails.

Long, sleek, painted fingernails are what many women dream of having. But for some women this dream can turn into a nightmare because of allergic reactions.

When you open a bottle of nail polish, the first thing you notice isn’t the pretty color, it is the smell. Nail polish generally stinks, to put it bluntly. The reason why is because of all the chemicals in it. Most nail polishes are made from phthalates, solvents and formaldehydes. Nail polish is also made of fragrances, synthetic preservatives and dyes. That is a lot of chemicals. For people with allergies that is also a lot of chances for an allergic reaction.

What kind of allergic reaction can nail polish cause? It can cause the most suspected reactions like redness and itchiness around the fingernail and nail bed. But it can also cause rashes on the other parts of the body as well as asthma-like attacks from the smell of the polish itself.

Is there any nail polish on the market that is safe to use? No, not really. There are some nail polishes that do not contain phthalates or formaldehydes. But since nail polish is considered a cosmetic they are not screened in the US by the FDA. They also do not have to list every ingredient used in production of the polish. The European Union has banned all use of phthalates and formaldehydes in their cosmetics. Yet, that still leaves the solvents, the dyes and the preservatives in the polish. These still can also cause allergic reactions.

“Safe” alternatives

If you have had an allergic reaction to nail polish but still want to use it, you could try some of the gentler nail polishes. They aren’t as easy to find though. They probably won’t be found at your local drug store. Plus, they usually take up to three coats to actually achieve the color you want. But they are a safer alternative. makes nail polish and a polish remover with fewer chemicals than most companies do. Their nail polishes are water based nail enamels. They are free from phthalates, formaldehydes, solvents, and FD & C colors. Their nail polish remover is odorless, which is a great plus. It is also free from acetone, fragrance and color. has a nail polish that is free from toluene, formaldehyde and rosin. But it does contain solvents, phytahlic and anhydride.

No polish, but still great looking fingernails

Yet, if your allergic reaction is severe, your best bet is stay away from nail polish and nail polish remover, completely. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have elegant looking fingernails.

Just follow these simple steps:

1. Keep your fingernails clean.
2. Soak them frequently in a bowl of warm water and gentle soap.
3. File them weekly.
4. Use a nail buffer to keep them ridge free and shinier.
5. For extra white and shine, use a half of a lemon as a buffer.

– Linda McCloud


[…] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptWhen you open a bottle of nail polish, the first thing you notice isn’t the pretty color, it is the smell. Nail polish generally stinks, to put it bluntly. The reason why is because of all the chemicals in it. Most nail polishes are … […]

September 17th, 2007 | 1:35 pm

nail polish that are acrylic based seems to last longer on my finger nails compared to water based ones ‘*”

November 17th, 2010 | 9:14 am

For sure would be the terms, pursuing the beneficial ideas is surely a move in the fitting track in an powerful Nail therapy routine, however if you need a detailed practice that may take away all your nail care worries once for all, you will find it by visiting a couple of nail polish internet sites.

December 27th, 2010 | 5:54 pm

I am hyper-sensitive to all brands of nail polish. I found an alternative – color your toenails with a fine point Sharpie. I don’t polish my fingernails, just keep them trimmed and neat looking, but my toenails are awful without polish especially in the summer when I want to wear sandals. Granted the Sharpie pen is far from perfect, but it’s not bad.

March 9th, 2011 | 8:18 am

my bf rashes out from nail polish? is there a safe kind to use..

November 2nd, 2011 | 1:03 am

” Mavala ” nail polish also free from formaldehyde and rosin. I trıed and still using mavala nail polish and it works. it has different colors and also it’s not too expensive.

November 19th, 2011 | 2:27 pm

I find that my allergy to nail polish results in discolored toe nails, but no skin reaction. I quit polishing over the colder months when I don’t wear sandals and my nails grow out normally, but then the warm months roll around…….

April 10th, 2012 | 12:23 pm

Ordinary nail polishes used to contain toluene, formadehyde and DBP. Most polish brands have removed these chemicals from their formulations but they still contain camphor and other plasticizers that are known to cause allergic contact dermatitis. Check out Dazzle Dry Quick-Dry Nail Polish. It does not contain these chemicals and can therefore be considered hypoallergenic. Women with sensitive fingertips during and after chemotherapy find comfort using Dazzle Dry.

June 3rd, 2012 | 12:35 pm
No name:

I found out that I have a rash because I am allergic to nail polish. What do I do??

October 6th, 2013 | 6:29 pm

a friend says her nails fall off when she puts polish in them. anyone ever heard of this?

January 30th, 2016 | 5:22 pm

Tash, i have similar problems as your friend. I have been battleing allergies my whole life and after about 2 months of contact dermatitis and eventually painful nails and nail beds I realized My allergies are from nail polish. I was using Deborah lippermann. I switched to CND 7day polish, sparitual and nothing helped. The last two looked OK until I removed them with the nail polish remover. They became weavy and it looked like they will fall off- they got detached from the nail bed. Is it possible the problem is nail polish remover. I used acetone free and also the acetone removers.
Also, I have no problems with toe nails and I have used loreal, sparitual and another cheap brand name I can’t remember the name.

February 23rd, 2016 | 8:26 pm
H Mills:

My nails are discoloured from the top as though they are dying from the top although they look and feel strong. It looks as though something is creeping down under the nail.

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