Natural health: Nail polish chemicals and morning sickness

The main issue with nail polish are the three chemicals commonly used, says Megan Sheppard.

Q. I have heard nail gels are less toxic than regular nail polish. Is this true?

A. Nail gels have become very popular due to the fact that they tend to last much longer than nail polish, typically looking good for up to a month as opposed to hours or days.

The main issue with nail polish are the three chemicals commonly used: formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate. 

Formaldehyde is well-known for being a neurotoxin; toluene is a volatile organic compound commonly found in paint that can cause problems with the kidneys, gallbladder, and liver; dibutyl phthalate is linked to reproductive and developmental issues.

Many gel products for nails don’t contain these toxins, but what we don’t really know yet is whether or not the alternatives are much safer, with some concerns about the new chemicals disrupting the endocrine system.

Not all nail products have a complete ingredient listing, but you can often find out if a product is safe by searching such as the Environmental Working Group database ( ).

One of the issues with gels is the hardening process. This requires the use of UVA radiation, which is a long-wave ultraviolet light, although the lamps are usually filtered to reduce skin damage.

The gel polish curing lamps operate at a similar range to UVA tanning beds, and like tanning beds, the length and frequency of exposure to the UVA rays are the main concerns. 

The UV lamps used in nail salons are around four times stronger than the midday sun, but are used in relatively brief intervals.

If you are considering getting gels done regularly (typically every 2-3 weeks), then it may be worth investing in a UV shield for your hands and wrists. 

YouVee Shields are available in some salons or can be ordered from the US ( ).

There are non-toxic nail polishes available. Some perform well, others not so well. It is worth doing a bit of research and checking reviews online to find out how they perform. 

Honeybee Gardens, Zoya, RGB, and Suncoat are just a few brands offering more natural options. There are also gel polishes available that don’t need UVA curing lights.

Q. How effective is ginger for morning sickness? I am desperate to find something that works to take away this constant feeling of nausea. 

I haven’t actually vomited, but from morning to night feel on the verge of it. I also find that certain smells are unbearable.

Natural health: Nail polish chemicals and morning sickness

A. Ginger has been touted as an anti-nausea remedy since long before it was proven scientifically to reduce nausea and vomiting. 

It is often used in motion sickness, chemotherapy-related nausea/vomiting, and postoperative nausea/vomiting, as well as for morning sickness.

Ginger, taken in a tea, syrup, lozenge, or biscuit, can reduce the incidence of nausea, or stop incidence of vomiting within a week of taking it regularly (taken 3-4 times daily).

The tea or syrup are more effective than sweets and biscuits, but not as effective as the prescription drug metoclopramide.

In terms of safety, ginger doesn’t have the side effects associated with anti-emetic prescription drugs, with the agreed safe dosage during pregnancy being up to 0.5g taken three times daily. 

A number of scientific studies have found ginger to be safe as a remedy during pregnancy, provided that the combined daily dosage is 1g to 1.5g.

There are a number of safe alternatives out there that may or may not help with pregnancy-related sickness, and you may or may not find the right fit for you.

Other options include acupuncture or acupressure, craniosacral therapy, vitamin B6 supplementation (25mg, 2-3 times daily), homoeopathic remedies, motion sickness wristbands (which work on the acupressure principles), lemon balm or spearmint tea.


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