Going 3-free during your pregnancy
Have you ever heard of the term ‘3-free’ before? If you’re a nail polish buff (or are interested in what goes into your favourite beauty products), then you probably have. But for those who have no idea what the heck it means, here’s the deal: 3-free nail polishes and nail care products (think: nail polish remover) have been formulated without the ingredients dibutyl phthalate (henceforth referred to as DBP to give your brain a rest), toluene and formaldehyde. Pregnant women tend to avoid nail products that contain these ingredients. So why the fuss over these three chemical ingredients?
DBP is a plasticiser, which makes nail polish more flexible and less prone to chipping and cracking. It’s also a suspected teratogen, which is science talk for something that can cause abnormalities in physiological development and can cause birth defects. As well as this, DBP is linked to hormonal and long-term fertility problems in newborn males.
Toluene is a fancy little solvent that works to keep your nail polish as a liquid (and therefore makes it easier to apply). It’s also found in gasoline, acrylic paints, varnishes, lacquers, paint thinners, glues and shoe polish. Inhaling high levels of toluene can cause light-headedness, dizziness and even unconsciousness. It’s also been suspected to cause liver, kidney and brain damage, and can do damage to a developing foetus.
Formaldehyde is used in some nail hardeners and formaldehyde resin (a by-product of formaldehyde) is often used in nail polishes to help the polish bond to your nail and to make it more resilient. Formaldehyde is known to be a human carcinogen and breathing it in can cause ear, nose, throat and skin irritations. These ingredients, as well as other chemicals, can easily be found in any nail salon, so if you’re concerned about your chemical exposure during your pregnancy, it’s probably a good idea to steer clear of your local salon and indulge in a bit of DIY. Below are a few brands that are 3-free... Do you use 3-free nail products? Which are your favourite 3-free nail brands?