My Nail Polish and the Chemical Benzene

A hand with the nails painted a bright red color

I used to keep my nails painted all of the time. A pretty red color was my favorite.

Three bottles of nail polish, two red and one clear coat

I used a nail hardener as the bottom coat. Then applied the color and a top coat to make it nice and shiny.

A girl standing outside with wet hair and her hand wrapped up in an elastic bandage wearing a black shirt and a polyester purple jacket

When I started having nerve problems in my hand I was wrapping my fingers with bandaides because it was very painful when they moved independently. I was also wrapping my hand with an elastic bandage wrap and painting my fingernails. Little did I know at the time, all three things were part of the cause. Excuse the wet hair selfie. Back then I did not know I was going to write this blog so I never took a good picture of my hand and the way I was wrapping it. This was the best I could find in my past pictures.

A used brown emery board sitting on a wooden table

My nerves were all out of wack. When I would touch my fingertips I would get a tingle type sensation that shot down my arm to my elbow and sometimes to my cheek. It never occured to me that my nail polish could be one of the culprits, but I read online that nail polish paint also contains benzene, the chemical that was causing all of my problems. Now that I know more about the whole subject, I should not have been so surprised. But I guess it was more the realization that if I wanted to get better I was not going to be able to keep my nails painted anymore. I filed my nails down to get as much off as possible.

A pink colored hand with the middle fingertip turned white and part of the pointing finger begining to turn as well

Right after I filed my nails with the emery board nail file my finger turned white and went numb, my throat was suddenly sore, eyes burn and I started coughing. I could feel a numbness on my face. My hands were not cold when it happened. I have raynaud's syndrome and I always had my fingers randomly turn white, but now that I have been elimiating things that emit the VOC benzene and paying attention it is now becoming more obvious of the circumstances that bring it on. This type of nail file has adhesive which hold the grit onto the board. Adhesive contains benzene.

A metal nail clipper on a table with nail clippings all around it

I cut my nails as short as possible and removed my nail polish. I also found out that most nail polish removers also contain benzene.

A metal nail file with a thumb on top of it

After removing the polish my nails still tingled when I touched my fingertips, but not as strongly. I bought a metal nail file and filed off a thin top layer of my nails. That lowered the tingle sensation even more to where I was only slightly feeling it. I will need to let my fingernails grow out. The polish obviously sunk deep into my nail.

A black plastic trash can with a bunch of emry boards and other manicure supplies

I tossed my nail polish supplies.

A synthetic blue and white memory foam toe and nail separator

When I picked up these synthetic foam pedicure finger and toe separators my fingertips started to hurt and my entire arm tingled. The feeling you would get if you stuck your tongue to a weak 9 volt battery. They needed to go too.

A large rectangular black and pink nail file board for dogs

So did these dog nail files. If they are bad for humans they cannot possibly be good for my dogs.

Sharon Maguire - Updated 1-31-2020

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