Another Reason To Use Less Toxic Nail Polish

GH reader Rebecca sent me an article from StyleList about a woman getting an unusual reaction from her nail polish. This woman’s story is pretty compelling.

Brooke Burdine (pictured above) paid her dermatologist a visit when she awoke to a strange skin reaction that resembled two black eyes.  After poring over her daily routine with her dermatologist, her dermatologist realized the culprit…her nail polish.

Brooke, an avid nail salon patron, recently broke her usual manicure routine.  She picked a nail polish from a brand she never used before at the nail salon.  Soon after she got the shiner of an allergic reaction seen above.  Burdine’s allergic black eye look is the result of the sinuses being so swollen, not allowing blood to drain normally, so it just collects underneath the eyes.

While this is an uncommon reaction to nail polish, the factors involved make it not such a far-fetched allergic reaction for many people.  Why? Brooke wears contact lenses, so her fingers are in constant contact with her eyes.  It really is something one would never think about.  You may not wear contacts, but your fingers do stray to your eyes so many times.

It is unclear what toxin or toxins set off her reaction, but it is pretty safe to say we all need to stay away from toluene, dibutyl phthalate, and formaldehyde in our nail polishes.  Those 3 nasties are carcinogenic, endocrine disrupters (meaning they f*** with your hormones), and they f*** with your respiratory and neuro systems. Look for “3 Free”.  Take it a step further and avoid formaldehyde resin with “4 Free” nail polishes now on the market.  Or, you can go for no toxins.

I usually bring my own non-toxic/less-toxic nail polish to the nail salon.  Brooke’s reaction has convinced me to travel to the salon with my own healthy base/coat in tow as well.

Have you ever gotten an adverse reaction to a beauty product?  Share it in the comments below.

Who knows, your experience may prevent someone else from visiting the doctor!

Photo via


  1. Had the exact same reaction and the exact same visit with a dermatologist. I found your site my trying to find brands that don’t have the formaldehyde. That picture is identical to my reaction!