As Close to Non-toxic as Nail Polish Remover May Get
Let’s face it, even us naturalistas like a set of pretty painted nails. There’s no denying it, and though I’ve yet to find a nail polish that’s not toxic in my book, at least we have this less-toxic solution for removing the shiny lacquer we adorn out nails with.
Pure Body Naturals’ Nail Polish Remover is an odorless Acetone-free solution. It’s not flammable and a far cry from the type of toxicity that you’re exposed to in Acetone based solutions, but I’m not going to candy coat this for you. It’s not toxin free.
Does It work?
Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I’m sure you’ll want to know first if it works. The short answer is: yes. Pure Body Naturals’ Nail Polish Remover does a pretty good job, but requires a bit of elbow grease.
To use the solution, you have to saturate the nail with the liquid and let it soak for a bit before rubbing the nail polish off. It may take two rounds, but it will eventually free your nails of polish. Additionally, I didn’t pick up on any odor and I didn’t feel light headed using it.
Probably Not “Organic”
The organic label is really confusing with this product and not surprisingly, I couldn’t find anything to substantiate the claim. Nail polish, born of tough as nails car paint, requires an industrial strength solvent to be effectively removed. Although this formula is a step-up, the ingredients in Pure Body Naturals’ Nail Polish Remover are not entirely benign, and how they could classify as organic is beyond me:
- Methyl Oleate (1):
- May cause mild irritation on contact with skin or mucous membranes. Experimental carcinogen. Causes serious eye irritation.
- Palmitate (2):
- We don’t know what type of Palimate is being used, but it’s safe to assume that it’s Ascorbyl Palimate used as a preservative.
- This chemical is a serious eye irritant and can cause skin irritation with prolonged exposure, but is safe in small amounts and has even been found to inhibit tumor growth.
- Linoleate (3):
- Again, we don’t know exactly which form of Linoleate is being used, but most likely it’s Methyl Linoleate, a.k.a Linoleic Acid Methyl Ester, used as a lubricant.
- There are many studies underway, but it appears that this is one of those chemicals that doesn’t have sufficient data to prove its toxicity, yet.
- Stearate (4):
- Here we’re most likely looking at Zinc Stearate, used as an anti-adhesive agent and/ or lubricant.
- Can cause respiratory issues, but appears to be safe with limited topical exposure.
- And other “proprietary” botanical mixtures:
- This is a total wild card and unfortunately I did not get a response from Pure Body Naturals on what exactly is contained within this “proprietary” mixture.
This nail polish remover is no panacea, but by comparison to Acetone it is much safer for occasional use. I’m not happy with Pure Body Naturals’ choice to obscure the ingredients, but when compared to Cutex, or other conventional nail polish removers, nevertheless, it seems the safer choice.
The Truth About Acetone
By comparison, Acetone alone is a much more toxic substance then all the above combined. But in the standard nail polish remover formula, Acetone is generally accompanied by a toxic line-up of ingredients like Propylene Carbonate, Dimethyl Glutarate, Dimethyl Adipate, Dimethyl Succinate, Glycerin, “Fragrance”, Denatonium Benzoate, Gelatin, FD&C Yellow 11. This is seriously toxic soup!
I don’t need to go into the gory details about all those other petroleum based synthetic chemicals, but just in case you come across an article attempting to persuade you that Acetone (a.k.a. dimethyl ketone, 2-propanone, and beta-ketopropane) is fine because it’s “natural,” beware that as an industrial chemical Acetone is extremely toxic (5):
- Category 2 – Dangerous flammable liquids
- Category 2B – Serious eye damage/eye irritation
- Category 3 – Narcotic effects/ may cause drowsiness or dizziness
- Category 3 – Single exposure organ toxicity
- Category 1 – Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure
- Very irritating to mucous membranes.
- Prolonged excessive contact causes defatting of the skin, possibly leading to dermatitis.
So if you’ve heard that acetone is harmless because it’s a naturally occurring chemical, don’t be fooled by the propaganda. Yes Acetone occurs naturally as a byproduct of body fat breakdown, but it’s also found in its natural state in volcanic gases and forest fires. Both of which are known to be toxic when inhaled. This claim is akin to framing gasoline as harmless because it occurs naturally in our environment.
Besides even if it were true, the claim holds no weight because the stuff in your nail polish remover is not what’s found naturally occurring in the environment. It’s an industrially manufactured chemical – which makes it a different beast altogether.
Lesser Of Two Evils
The bottom line is that Pure Body Naturals’ Nail Polish Remover is clearly the lesser of two evils. It’s very likely that it’s much less toxic than the standard nail polish remover, but if you’re pregnant, nursing or determined to completely eliminate unnecessary toxins from your environment for any other reason, you’ll have to stick with nails au naturale. The truth is that there is no such thing as a toxin-free nail polish remover.
- PubChem Compound Summary for CID 5364509 Methyl Oleate
- PubChem Compound Summary for CID 54676825 Ascorbyl Palimate
- PubChem Compound Summary for CID 5284421 Linoleic Acid Methyl Ester
- PubChem Compound Summary for CID 11178 Zinc Stearate
- PubChem Compound Summary for CID 180 Acetone