Infertility and Nail Polish

Last updated: January 15th, 2020 at 06:35 pm

Author, Linda Ryan, BA, Lic. TCM, CH

Infertility and nail polish

Is there a link between infertility and nail varnish? Does nail polish affect fertility?

Research studies indicate that a chemical in nail varnish disrupts normal hormone functioning. And hormones have everything to do with your Reproductive System functioning properly, thus the link between Infertility and nail polish.

Nail polish contains a chemical called Triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP.  TPHP is a suspected endocrine-disrupting chemical (meaning it disrupts normal hormone functioning).  It is also commonly used:

  1. to make plastics
  2. as a fire retardant in foam furniture.

Researchers at Duke University tested the urine of 26 women who had recently painted their nails with nail polish.  They found evidence of TPHP in every participant. Yes, every participant. Evidence of the chemical in the women’s urine increased sharply after they applied the nail polish.  Click here to read more about the study.  “These results are troubling because a growing body of scientific data from other studies indicates that TPHP causes endocrine disruption”.  Endocrine disruption means that it interferes with normal hormone functioning. In animal studies, TPHP has caused reproductive and developmental irregularities.  So, there does seem to be a link between infertility and nail polish.  

If you wear nail polish, TPHP could be in your body too.

Not only are chemicals inhaled, chemicals can seep into your body through your nail plate and lead to further toxicity. If you want to test your fertility hormone levels to see if they are in the normal range, you can get a Day 3 bloods test done.

Is there a Fertility Friendly Nail Polish? The Good News: There are several brands that are offering Non-toxic Nail Varnish versions.

These non toxic nail polishes are usually advertised as: “3 Free” , “5 Free”  “7 Free” or “8 Free” meaning that they have eliminated a combination of the chemicals listed below. And these Non-toxic nail polish alternatives are widely available.

*see specific “8 Free” nail polish brand TOP recommendation below*

Infertility and nail varnish: Other toxic chemicals are present as well (“the toxic 3” and “toxic 5”, etc.):

1.Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP). This is the ingredient that is linked to reproductive issues.

2.Toluene. This is a commonly used solvent (It’s major use is as an additive in gasoline) that creates a smooth finish across the nail polish and keeps the pigment (the colour) from separating in the bottle. Infertility and nail polish This chemical can affect the central nervous system and cause reproductive harm.

3.Formaldehyde.  This is a known carcinogen.  It is used in nail polish as a nail-hardening agent.  It is also used as a disinfectant for nail care tools, thus creating more exposure to this harmful chemical.

4.Formaldehyde Resin. This is a derivative of Formaldehyde that may be considered slightly less toxic than Formaldehyde, however don’t be fooled as it is still a carcinogen as well as an allergen.

5.Camphor. This is a neurotoxin and can cause seizure if ingested.  When absorbed through the skin it can cause liver problems.

6. Ethyl Tosylamide. This has already been barred from use in personal care products in Europe.

7. Xylene. The main effect of inhaling xylene vapor is depression of the central nervous system.

8. TPHP. This is the chemical discussed in the study mentioned above.

Even the time you spend in a salon can increase your exposure because you are inhaling the toxic fumes.  You know that chemical smell when you first walk into a salon.  So, skipping the salon and doing your own nails for a while can be beneficial.

If you spend a lot of time in salons or if you work in one then you could be at risk. Studies have also shown that working in salons is linked to reproductive health problems, including spontaneous birth, preterm delivery and undersized babies as well as pregnancy complications.

Ever wonder “Why is IVF and nail polish a no no?infertility and nail polish “

So, the day of your long awaited embryo transfer arrives and you are told to remove all nail polish (and make-up and perfumes).  Statistics have shown that when women do not wear nail varnish, make-up or perfumes during embryo transfer, the rates of success slightly increase.

Are you interested in a fertility safe nail polish?

*Non-toxic nail polish brand TOP recommendation:

Royal Appointment Patent Shine 10X Nail LacquerButter London Patent Shine 10x- 8 Free:does not add Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, DBP, Toluen, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, or TPHP to any of its nail product formulas.  See colours here at either    or   

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Linda Ryan- Founder of MARA Fertility Acupuncture Clinic



Hi, I’m Linda Ryan, Fertility Acupuncturist & mother of three: Having overcome my own fertility issues is what drives me to help women like you to achieve the results that I made happen for myself.