12 Free Defined - Why Every Woman Should Be Wearing Non-Toxic Nail Polish

12 Free Defined - Why Every Woman Should Be Wearing Non-Toxic Nail Polish

By Suzanne Roberta, MBA

Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers

In 2015, the New York Times published an article titled Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers by Sara Maslin Nir. Still highly relevant today, the article reported on the effects that toxic nail polishes had on manicurists, who are exposed for extended periods of time.

Having read the article, I believe you will quickly begin to wonder what effect these toxins could possibly be having on you. Finding the right non toxic nail polish brand is a must for every nail polish lover.

From the New York Times article, “A growing body of medical research shows a link between the chemicals that make nail and beauty products useful — the ingredients that make them chip-resistant and pliable, quick to dry and brightly colored, for example — and serious health problems”.

With nail care being one of the fastest growing areas in the cosmetic and beauty industry, long term effects of being around toxic nail polish chemical fumes can, at a minimum cause eye and throat irritation, headaches, dizziness and dry and cracked skin.

In more severe cases these chemical fumes can cause infertility, miscarriages, kidney and liver damage.

You may be asking… but what should I look for in a non toxic nail polish brand?

While there are many brands that offer a safer, cleaner option of 3 free or 5 Free, we've set the Gold Standard of non-toxic nail beauty with our proprietary, distinctive 12 Free formulations. All Adesse nail products are formulated without the 12 most commonly used harmful ingredients, commonly found in many nail brands. 

To break it down, we've compiled our "dirty dozen" list of ingredients with clear explanations of why each one is so harmful. 

12 Free – Formulated without the following toxic ingredients, commonly found in most nail brands.

Formaldehyde - a commonly used chemical to preserve and embalm dead animals and humans.  Its vapors are also irritating and can trigger asthma.  Formaldehyde is also a known human carcinogen, a factor directly involved in causing cancer.  

Formaldehyde Resin - a derivative of Formaldehyde, mainly used in the production of coatings and adhesives.  It is not as toxic as Formaldehyde but can be an allergen and skin irritant.

Toluene - a liquid that is used as a solvent and has the familiar smell of paint thinner. You can be exposed to toluene by breathing it in or getting it on your skin or nails. Toluene is often associated with skin irritation.  Inhaling high levels of toluene is known to be harmful to the nervous system and can cause lightheadedness and nausea.  Toluene is a toxin that may also cause birth defects and developmental problems in children of pregnant women who have had extended exposure.

Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) - a commonly used plasticizer that has been linked to cancer. DBP has also been connected to birth defects in studies involving lab animals.  In fact, this toxin was added to the California Proposition 65 list of suspected teratogens, which are agents that cause malformations of an embryo.

Camphor - a poison that can cause seizures and disorientation if used in large doses. This chemical acts as a cover on your nails, depriving them of nutrients and causing yellow staining of the nails, which may become permanent.

Triclosan - an endocrine-disrupting chemical. It can harm the endocrine system, leading to issues with proper hormone function. Some animal studies have shown that exposure to high amounts of the ingredient may cause a decrease in certain thyroid hormones. Exposure to the ingredient is of particular concern to women and people assigned female at birth. That’s because it can cross the placenta and enter breast milk.

Sulfates - derived from petroleum are often controversial due to their origin. The biggest concern is the long-term side effects of sulfate production. Petroleum products are associated with climate change, pollution, and greenhouse gases. Sulfates can also be found in some plant products. Many products with sulfates are tested on animals to measure the level of irritation to the skin, lungs, and eyes. As a Certified Cruelty Free brand, we do not use any ingredients tested on animals.

Xylene – commonly used in the manufacture of plastics and polyester fabrics. Also, as an industrial solvent, it is often used as a cleaning agent for steel and electronic components including silicon wafers and integrated circuits. Exposure to xylene can irritate the eyes, nose, skin, and throat. Xylene can also cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, loss of muscle coordination, and in high doses, death. 

Phosphates – leach calcium from the nails, making them more porous and increasing the risk of brittleness, thinning, peeling and breakage. Too much phosphate in the blood also causes muscle loss and accelerated skin aging. Skin of the cuticles can become dry, lose resiliency and crack.

Parabens - are a group of chemicals widely used as artificial preservatives in cosmetic and body care products since the 1920’s. Since cosmetics contain ingredients that can biodegrade, these chemicals are added to prevent and reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, increasing the shelf life of the products. Parabens can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer. 

GMO’s – cause disruption to the body’s healthy bacteria and stimulate the production of pesticides in the body. GMO’s build resistance to bacteria. Causes skin irritation and allergic reactions. Absorbed into the skin and body through the porous nature of nails. Damaged, cracked or bruised cuticles offer additional entry points into the blood stream.

Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP) – typically used in the manufacture of nail polish to increase the product’s flexibility. Scientific studies have suggested that it could be an endocrine disrupter which affects hormones – in particular, it could potentially affect reproductive health and lipid metabolism. Also affects the liver and kidneys. High or repeated exposure may damage the nerves causing weakness, "pins and needles," and poor coordination in the arms and legs.

Vegan Defined

Adesse New York does not use any animal derived ingredients in the formulation or manufacturing of our products.

Certified Cruelty Free

Adesse New York products are Certified Cruelty Free by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Leaping Bunny. These certifying associations require us to certify that we do not test our finished products on animals. They also require us to certify that our ingredients suppliers, R&D labs and our manufacturers do not conduct any animal testing. We renew our certifications and those of our partners, vendors and suppliers annually.

Zero Cross-Contamination Sustainable Manufacturing Defined

At Adesse New York, we are committed to delivering on our promise that your nail products will always be 12 Free, Vegan, Certified Cruelty Free and manufactured in our clean, Zero Cross-Contamination Facility. To learn more about our clean manufacturing practices, click here

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