Does nail polish during pregnancy harm the baby?

Nina Skarabela

Pregnancy is a special time when expectant mothers should pay special attention to their health and the well-being of their baby. During this time, many women ask themselves questions about the safety of various products they use in their daily lives, including nail polish. In this article, we will highlight the possible effects of nail polish on the unborn baby and provide recommendations for expectant mothers.

Conventional nail polish consists of a variety of chemical ingredients, including solvents, dyes and other additives. Some of these ingredients can be potentially harmful if inhaled in large quantities or absorbed through the skin. Substances of concern include, for example, formaldehyde, toluene and phthalates.

Studies on the effects of nail polish on pregnant women and their babies are limited, so there is no clear evidence of specific risks. However, there are some potential concerns that should be considered.

First, some of the chemicals in nail polish can enter the body and potentially cross the placental barrier. This could theoretically have an impact on the development of the foetus. In particular, substances such as formaldehyde, which are classified as carcinogenic, should be avoided.

Secondly, there is a risk of inhaling vapours while applying the nail varnish. Some solvents in nail polishes may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be harmful if inhaled. Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of VOCs can have adverse effects on the nervous and respiratory systems.

Recommendations for expectant mothers

Despite the limited scientific evidence, it is advisable to take some precautions when handling nail polish during pregnancy. For example, you should choose nail polishes that are labelled "free", as these products are free from some chemicals of concern such as formaldehyde, toluene and phthalates. By the way, all OZN nail polishes are 22+free. When applying the nail polish, one should be in well-ventilated areas to reduce exposure to fumes. It is advisable not to apply nail polish indoors.

It is difficult to determine whether nail polish may pose potential risks during pregnancy. If there is any uncertainty or specific concern, pregnant women should consult their doctor for individualised advice or, if in doubt, avoid nail polish altogether. We at OZN generally always advise against it because the study evidence is just so weak.