Beauty fanatics beware. According to researchers at Duke University and the Environmental Working Group there could be a chemical in your nail varnish that causes your body to gain weight. Meaning thar regardless how carefully you eat or however many times a week you exercise, all those efforts could be wasted.

Triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP, is often used for making plastic, or helping to stop foam furniture catch fire (always useful) however was introduced as an ingredient in nail varnishes as a replacement of dibutyl phthalate, or DBP, which fell out of favor when studies indicated this particular chemical could lead to reproductive issues. Although TPHP does make nail polishes more flexible, improving your manicure durability, it doesn’t look like this recent substitute is much of an improvement in terms of your safety.

During the study over 3000 nail polishes were tested for the inclusion of TPHP and a shocking 49% showed the chemical as an ingredient, even when the ingredients stated it wasn’t included. Likewise women who applied the polish directly to their nails saw a sharp increase in levels of TPHP in their body, particularly those who regularly wore nail varnish. Worrying stuff.

Ready for the science? Separate studies have indicated that THPH is an endocrine disruptor. In other words it messes about with your hormones. When tested on animals it has shows developmental or reproductive problems, while on humans scientists have claimed it may link to weight gain as THPH interacts with a protein that’s vital to regulating the body’s metabolism and production of fat cells. However before you panic and reach for the remover, further studies need to be carried out before the results say anything fully conclusive.

On the plus, The Environment Working Group has already launched a petition asking nail varnish companies to remove TPHP completely from it’s products, plus it’s also launched a database of brands that contain the chemical as an ingredient, so you can continue polish your pinkies stress free. 

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If you’re anything like us, the above has probably come as a bit of a shock. So why not ease your worries with a nice cup of tea. And a naughty snack. Well, if you’re mani-pedi is going to cause you to pile on the pounds a sugary treat isn’t going to make much of a difference, is it? Pass the cream cakes…