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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

‘Three-Free’ Nail Products Are Safer Alternative

The trendy nail polish color that perfectly complements a stylish outfit waiting to be shown off is hiding a secret: it’s brimming with chemicals that are not only bad for the environment, but also for the body. While no nail polish is completely natural, there are brands that are free of the three toxic chemicals that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) considers to be of most concern: toluene (provides the smooth finish), formaldehyde (a hardener) and dibutyl phthalate (gives flexibility and moisturizing sheen).

According to EWG, toluene affects the central nervous system and can cause headaches, dizziness and fatigue. It is also a possible reproductive and developmental toxin. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen that can also irritate the eyes, nose and throat and lead to skin irritation and dermatitis, an allergic rash. Dibutyl phthalate is a developmental and reproductive toxin; exposure can affect thyroid function. In utero exposure is linked to reproductive problems in baby boys and decreased sperm count.

Thanks to a decade of pressure by EWG, the 2004 Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and a low-profile study by the Centers for Disease Control that indicated the prevalence of dibutyl phthalate in individuals’ bodies, especially women of childbearing age, the toxic trio is slowly being phased out.

Visit for a list of nail product companies that are “three-free”; that is, they do not use toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. When visiting nail salons and spas, ask if the brands they use are three-free.

Wild Orchid Salon and Spa is located at 809 Walkerbilt Rd., Ste. 1, in Naples. 239-825-8827. The salon uses three-free nail products.

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