A bright nail polish might your favorite way to treat yourself, but there’s a chance your manicure is causing you to gain weight. According to researchers at Duke University and the Environmental Working Group, a common nail polish ingredient found in popular brands like Sally Hansen, Wet n Wild, OPI, and others might be causing harm to your body.
Triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) is used to make nail polish more flexible and durable. It may have been introduced to nail polishes to replace phthalates, which studies have linked to reproductive issues. However, the replacement might not be much better.
Separate studies have shown that TPHP is an endocrine disruptor. In actual English, that means it interferes with your hormones. Tests on animals have shown reproductive and developmental problems as a result, but scientists say that the effect on humans may be linked to weight gain.
There’s a good chance your nail art includes this ingredient – it was in 49 percent of the 3,000+ nail polishes studied by the researchers. The scariest part is that some polishes contain it even when they say they don’t.
The researchers tested the urine of 26 participants before and after they painted their nails with a polish that contained 1 percent TPHP. Two to six hours after painting their nails, 24 of the participants had slightly elevated levels of diphenyl phosphate (DPHP), a chemical that indicates TPHP has been processed in the body. And 10 to 14 hours after painting the nails, every single participant had DPHP levels increase by nearly seven times.
A petition has been launched asking nail polish companies to remove TPHP from its products, but until that occurs, there are ways this chemical can be prevented from being absorbed into your bloodstream. Participants who wore gloves to apply the polish to synthetic nails didn’t have any difference in DPHP levels, and you should avoid getting nail polish on your skin as much as possible.