Traditional nail polish has acquired a bad rap, largely due to chemical ingredients and a harsh odor. Besides irritating your senses with a poignant scent, “nail polishes contain solvents and some ingredients that can potentially cause health issues and irritation if inhaled in large quantities,” says Sabina Wizemann, a senior chemist in the Health, Beauty & Environmental Sciences Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
The strong aroma may not be the only thing that’s harsh about some nail polishes: chemicals in common nail lacquer formulas could potentially enter the body through your nail beds. A study by researchers at Duke University detected evidence of a common nail polish chemical called triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP, in the bodies of every woman who volunteered to paint her nails for the study.
The good news: many advancements have been made in nail polish formulations since this study. There are options without that particular harmful chemical, and other potentially dangerous ingredients, which brings us to so-called “nontoxic” or “natural” nail lacquers.
What makes a nail polish non-toxic?
“Products are crossing off ‘toxic’ ingredients from formulas at rapid speed, and some brands offer vegan and gluten-free options,” says Wizemann. Most non-toxic nail polishes are three-free, meaning they do not contain formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate. Beyond that, polishes go as far as being nine-, or 10-, or even 14-free. Here’s the breakdown of what’s missing (thankfully!) from those formulas:
5-free contains no formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, formaldehyde resin, camphor
No matter which formula you choose, follow instructions, avoiding use in poorly-ventilated areas. Still wary? “Water-based formulas incorporate non-synthetic pigments and aqueous acrylic polymers, plus they are also odorless,” says Wizemann. Though easy to apply, they are often not as long-lasting. Here, the “cleanest” nail lacquers available right now:
Founded by a podiatric surgeon, Aila has a strong focus on maintaining the health of your nails. The vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free lacquers come in a rainbow of vibrant shades as well as neutrals.
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Our guide for the day, Latvian blogger Zane Enina ofMugursoma.lv fame tells me that this is a pretty common conversation amongst Latvians during Autumn.
I wonder immediately if they are enough mushrooms for every Latvian to go mushroom picking.
‘50% of Latvia is covered by forests.There are always enough mushrooms for everyone. Plus a whole lot of space to get lost in and escape reality.’
We’re rolling through an open road about 100 kms outside of Riga. We’re surrounded by dense forests and an immense blanket of silence. We’ve been driving for almost 20 minutes from Zane’s house in Vangazi and there’s been nothing but green forests and deep blue skies.
I’m pretty excited about the idea of foraging for food. It has been one of those skills I’ve been always curious to learn more about. My father grew up in a rural part of India where nature’s bounty was rich. The garden of the house he grew up in was more like a jungle. You could find everything here from the freshest (hottest) green chillies
If there’s a particular way you like to wear your hair, chances are good that you’re doing some damage to it in the process. Heat-styling tools can easily hurt your hair. Similarly, chemically straightening or curling your hair can leave it dried out. And using hair products that are bad for your health can damage your hair and exacerbate other health issues.
The problem is that it’s pretty easy to avoid thinking about how badly hair dye can damage your hair. That’s because we all have our routines. Whether you have a running appointment with your stylist or a long-standing love affair with your favorite drugstore hair dye, you know the drill. You’re used to the routine and probably don’t think too much about it, even if it involves damaging bleach or colors that simply won’t fade.
So if you routinely dye your hair, or are thinking about starting, now might be a good time to learn a little bit about exactly what hair dye does to your locks. Here’s what you must know.
Ammonia lifts the hair cuticle, and peroxide destroys the color
Here’s how hair dye stays in your hair. | Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
Cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson explains to The Huffington Post that in order to deposit color onto your hair, the dye has to be able to get into the hair shaft. To do that, it has to move beyond the cuticle, which acts a little bit like tree bark and protects your hair from damage. To penetrate beyond the cuticle, hair dye uses ammonia to elevate the pH of the hair and to relax and lift the cuticle. Immediately, you’ve damaged your hair, since the cuticle isn’t meant to be lifted up.
Once the cuticle is lifted, the next step is to dye the hair your intended color. So, hair dye uses peroxide to break down your natural hair pigment. Peroxide is extremely drying to hair and is the reason why colored hair can take on a straw-like texture. As the peroxide developer sits, the cuticle remains lifted for the dye to penetrate into the open cuticle and hair shaft. The longer the cuticle is lifted, the more it weakens. Once you rinse your hair, the cuticle comes back down. But damage has already been done.
If you’re interested in the specifics of how the process works, chemistry teacher Andy Brunning reports on his blog Compound Interest that hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizing agent. It oxidizes the natural melanin pigments in hair, removing some of the conjugated double bonds that lead to their color, making them colorless. Actually dyeing the hair requires an alkaline pH, provided by the ammonia, which causes the cuticle to swell and can ultimately damage the hair.
Less-damaging alternatives don’t last as long
You can try less-damaging hair dyeing methods, but they might not be as effective. | Mandy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images
If you use the wrong level of peroxide, or if you over-process your hair by constantly performing chemical treatments, you can continue to cause serious damage to your hair. Using semi-permanent or demi-permanent dyes, on the other hand,
Is there a link between antiperspirants or deodorants and breast cancer?
Because underarm antiperspirants or deodorants are applied near the breast and contain potentially harmful ingredients, several scientists and others have suggested a possible connection between their use and breast cancer (1, 2). However, no scientific evidence links the use of these products to the development of breast cancer.
What is known about the ingredients in antiperspirants and deodorants?
Aluminum-based compounds are used as the active ingredient in antiperspirants. These compounds form a temporary “plug” within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. Some research suggests that aluminum-containing underarm antiperspirants, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and have estrogen-like (hormonal) effects (3).
Because estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer (3). In addition, it has been suggested that aluminum may have direct activity in breast tissue (4). However, no studies to date have confirmed any substantial adverse effects of aluminum that could contribute to increased breast cancer risks. A 2014 review concluded there was no clear evidence showing that the use of aluminum-containing underarm antiperspirants or cosmetics increases the risk of breast cancer (5).
Some research has focused on parabens, which are preservatives used in some deodorants and antiperspirants that have been shown to mimic the activity of estrogen in the body’s cells (6). It has been reported that parabens are found in breast tumors, but there is no evidence that they cause breast cancer. Although parabens are used in many cosmetic, food, and pharmaceutical products, most deodorants and antiperspirants in the United States do not currently contain parabens. The National Library of Medicine’s Household Products Database has information about the ingredients used in most major brands of deodorants and antiperspirants.
What is known about the relationship between antiperspirants or deodorants and breast cancer?
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