The Path to Less Toxic Nails!

7 mins read

Recently, I went on a hiatus from using nail polish. And for the first time in what seems like a decade, I’ve left my nails in their natural state. This just signifies how tiring constant nail appointments had become for me.

Nails are something very important to me and I look after them well. I used to do my nails myself. But when I started working as a chef, the constant use of my hands involving strenuous work and varying temperatures really damaged my nails. With my nails mostly breaking from edges or the nail polish just getting removed off in patches. It genuinely looked like a 5-year-old did my nails, it was extremely amateurish looking thus infuriating me. 

A long time back, a colleague suggested me try out Acrylic wraps. So how it works is that the manicurist brushes an Acrylic covering over your nails, buffs them and paints them. Due to there being a thick hard layer on top of the nails, they won’t break and since the nail edges are so much thicker, the polish won’t chip.

But, when I started taking classes on hygiene in the kitchen, I discovered that not only Acrylic coating was bad for my nails, but the chemicals that made acrylic wrap appealing included formaldehyde, toluene and methyl methacrylate which are toxic to our kidneys, liver, hormones and can cause birth defects. So something that was worth my time and money immediately looked like a big mistake, making me instantly switch to gel fills.

Gel fills are as far as anyone knows, “less harmful” to our nails. Until a manicurist I was going to in Málaga, Spain coincidentally wounded my nail bed while using an electric filer. Truth be told, for the past two and a half years, I’ve had what I call a “funny” nail. My nail has been each shading from green to white and lately increasingly pink. So it went from having fungus to looking like I don’t have a nail to looking a little normal. I continued to attempt each nail blooper fixer available from white vinegar to green tea but to no avail. It’s been a long excursion and in the end I exchanged salons, to a gel polish manicurist who has been helping my nail to mend and develop back to its old solid and healthy state.

Gel polish brands like “Zoya” have their polish categorized as “3 free”, meaning they are free of toxic ingredients like formaldehyde, toluene and plasticizer dibutyl phthalate (already banned by the European Union). 

It’s applied and looks like regular nail polish with no thick layer above the nail, causing it to look real and not fake. Other benefits of gel polish include, zero concerns regarding the overexposure to UV lights as the gel polish is painted on and then “cured” (this is the hardening process or in scientific terms photopolymerization) under a lamp which makes the drying time to nothing. So smudging will not be a concern. 

Zoya has provided me with safer and more hygienic nails than what I had earlier while using gel fills and acrylic wraps. Now I can use my hands-free in the kitchen without being scared of poisoning the customers (lol) and does save me from the hassle of constant nail appointments, conserving time and money. 


However, a few weeks ago I came across an article suggesting that even gel polish is quite hazardous for health. I was dumbfounded, as the main reason I switched to gel polish from gel fill was that they were less risky for my nails. I consulted a specialist and they informed me that it was indeed true. 

You see, anything artificial we do to our nails have side effects like increasing the number of toxins in our body. Removal of gel polish itself is very destructive to our nails because it involves soaking your nails in acetone, followed by aggressive buffing, scraping, and peeling of polish, which can severely injure the nail plate. You can have a look at gel nail polish UK and the kind options offered by them 

Also, the curing process I mentioned earlier, uses UV light which is dangerous for our hands especially due to overexposure during the curing process. I also found out that wearing gel polish for long may result in severe brittleness and dryness of the nails. I did feel that but never gave it a big enough thought. I was advised that gel polish won’t have a lasting effect on the health of my nails if I used it sporadically or just for special occasions, along with avoiding them to be aggressively scrubbed or buffered. It is also best to apply sunscreen or wear fingerless gloves to protect our hands before the curing.

I have always been concerned and very noticing the changes in my body. The main reason of me abandoning my routine regime of getting my nails done is because I want to notice if it makes a significant change to my skin or to the appearance of my nails. Although, like many of you, I hate seeing my nails bland like this.