This third segment in the “Get to Know Your Products” series covers a few choice ingredients from the Revitanail Nail Strengthener, a popular requested beauty product, in particular here in Australia. In this series, we’re looking at common but harmful ingredients that are likely to be found not just in this product but indeed in many general beauty and cosmetics products, with an eye toward understanding just what they are and what makes them so harmful to our health.
Toluene – Toluene, also known as benzene or methylbenzene, is used as a petrochemical solvent in a number of products, including nail varnishes and polishes. Toluene is strongly neurotoxic, and exposure is associated with serious long-term health consequences. Inhaling toluene in large doses can even lead to death. Exposure to toluene during pregnancy can cause developmental damage to the unborn child. In smaller doses and quantities, damage to the kidneys, dizziness, drowsiness, irritation to the skin and eyes, fatigue, headache, suppressed appetite, lack of energy, and depression have all been observed. It has also been tentatively linked with blood cancer risk, including lymphoma.
Butyl Acetate - Butyl Acetate, or N-Butyl Acetate is another solvent used in nail care polishes, varnishes and strengtheners, but its list of negative consequences is less intimidating than toluene. Butyl acetate is only associated with skin irritations, including to the eyes, skin, lungs and any areas with mucous membranes. (That’s all, right?) Butyl acetate vapours can also cause dizziness or nausea when inhaled, which is problematic since this is often used as a fragrance ingredient!
Formaldehyde – As if the previous ingredients weren’t bad enough, formaldehyde is the one of the most common and most harmful ingredients – and contaminants – commonly found in skincare products. It is a known, strong carcinogen (i.e. - causes cancer) based on well-established studies in animals – and emerging studies in humans. Nasal and nasopharyngeal cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and leukemia are among the cancers it has been linked to. This chemical can also cause allergic dermatitis on contact. In Europe, regulatory health protections limit formaldehyde concentrations to 1/5 of 1%, with a specific warning required on the label if a product contains more than .05%.
Despite these clear and obvious dangers, this and many other chemicals are either not regulated at all, or are very poorly regulated. The chemicals are used and processed because they are cheap and no one is stopping them. The industry itself that makes your products won’t address this until they have to. Until laws are available that effectively protect you from these products, the only way to fight these companies is to use your purchasing power to SAY NO to these products and these terrible chemicals and chemical residues.
James L Poole
I am a holistic health therapist: Emmett Technique practitioner, aromatherapist, nutritional therapist, and Reiki healer. This is my blog about natural healing.