Yes, it is okay to use nail polish and nail polish remover during pregnancy. If you just want to paint your nails every now and then, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
It is important to be aware however that regular nail polish does contain chemicals and if you want to avoid them there are plenty of safe, non-toxic nail polishes which are perfectly safe to use when pregnant.
Chemicals found in nail polish
The two common chemicals used in nail polish, they areare formaldehyde and toluene.
Formaldehyde is used as a hardener and toluene is used to help nail polish glide on more smoothly. The third chemical, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), forms a potentially ‘toxic trio’. There is no solid evidence to suggest nail polish is dangerous. For limited use there is no known concerns for pregnant women or unborn babies. However it is a personal preference.
Safe nail polish to use during pregnancy
If you are concerned about your exposure but still want to wear nail polish when pregnant we recommend the following:
- Use a nail polish that’s free from chemicals
- Open doors and windows before you put on your nail polish to allow ventilation
- Try to minimise the coats – one only if possible
- Dry the polish by stretching your arms away from your body
- Avoid blowing on your nails as you are more likely to breathe in the fumes
- Do not apply polish over torn cuticles or where there is broken skin
- Avoid leaving nail polish on for long periods of time – let your nails breathe. A la naturale is nice too!
3-free and 5-free nail polishes safe to use during pregnancy
Nail polishes that are 3-free, don’t contain the three toxic chemicals DBP (dibutyl phthalate), toluene and formaldehyde. Popular brands including Ella and Mila, Zoya and AllyKats are all safe. Here is a list of nail polishes that are safe to use during pregnancy. And even a range of wash off nail polish that is not only completely safe for pregnant women, but kids too!
Can I use nail polish remover when pregnant?
Nail polish removers usually contain acetone, which again like regular nail polish, can cause concerns if you use large doses over long periods of time, however small amounts, even if it once a week is ok. If you’re worried, look out for acetone-free nail polish removers.
Tip: After removing nail polish, always wash your hands with soap and water to remove any chemical residues.
Can I wear nail polish when in labor or for a planned c-section?
If you are using a birthing pool then you may be advised to wear no makeup or nail polish/varnish for hygiene reasons. Hospital policy may also dictate that no nail polish is allowed during labor as it may interfere with the blood pressure and pulse machines although toe nail polish may be permitted.
If undergoing a C-section you may be requested to remove all signs of nail polish and makeup prior to the procedure so they can monitor your skin tone.