Are nail polish and nail polish remover safe in pregnancy?

Are there any risks in using nail varnish and remover during pregnancy - can the formaldehyde and toluene be harmful?


In a nutshell

Yes, nail polish and remover are safe in pregnancy


The expert view

Back in 2012, an American study suggested a possible link between exposure to organic solvents – like those found in varnish, and nail polish removers – during the first 3 months of pregnancy had a borderline significance to congenital heart defects. However, the researchers concluded the results did not allow for ‘definitive conclusions’.

The expert consensus was that there was no solid evidence. The British Heart Foundation went on to assure pregnant women that there was no proof that heart defects can be caused by nail polish or removers.

Beauty consultant Louise Boothe, founder of Brow Boothe, says: “Both nail polish and remover are fine to use during pregnancy.”

She adds that if you are at all concerned then there are products available which contain reduced chemicals.

“You may choose to use products free of the chemicals formaldehyde and toluene which can be harmful if you are exposed to them regularly but even if you paint your nails once a week it is unlikely to be enough to affect your baby,” she assures.

At work

If you work in the beauty industry, you might be worried about fumes from nail products now you are expecting – if you do have any concerns over this, speak to your line manager. When you have your risk assessment at work after you have informed your employer of your pregnancy, any potential health and safety issues surrounded products should be highlighted.

Mums on our forum say

“I used nail varnish remover in early pregnancy, I wouldn’t worry too much about it… and definitely step away from Google x It’s ok to use things like bleach and to paint as long as you are in a well ventilated room so I’m sure a little bit of acetone will be fine.” – mamascott

“I’m always doing my nails!! I use acetone-free nail varnish remover any way so use that. Also open a window and air the room.” – BroodyBoots

Read more about pregnancy safety:

Are fizzy drinks safe during pregnancy?


Is it safe to dye your hair when pregnant?

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