Nailing those products!

| Updated on January 15, 2018


Nail products for both home and salon use are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration as cosmetics. While there are products that treat medical problems such as nail fungus and are classified as drugs, the US regulator points to those labelled as cosmetics. Many nail products contain potentially harmful ingredients, but are allowed on the market because they are safe when used as directed. For example, some nail ingredients are harmful when swallowed, but not when used on the nails, because the nail is a barrier, which prevents absorption. Consumers should read labels of nail products carefully and follow the warnings. Some ingredients in nail products may be harmful if swallowed. Some can easily catch fire if exposed to flame of the pilot light of a stove, a lit cigarette, or other heat source such as the heating element of a curling iron. Nail products also can be dangerous if they get in the eyes. Infections and allergic reactions can occur with some nail products.

Artificial nail removers consist primarily of acetonitrile and they should carry a warning on the label with directions for safe use. Listing other ingredients to watchout for, the agency says formaldehyde is used in some nail hardeners and nail polishes. It may be labeled as formaldehyde, “formalin” etc. Using these nail hardeners often, however, may make nails brittle and more likely to break or peel. Nail products that contain formaldehyde may also cause skin irritation, as well as allergic reactions to this ingredient.

Artificial nails are composed of acrylic polymers and are made by reacting together acrylic monomers. While they are safe, traces of the reactive monomers could result in an adverse reaction, such as redness, swelling etc.

Source: USFDA

Published on November 25, 2016

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