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INCI of cosmetics, you know what you are applying on skin Part 14, the toluene

November 18, 2018
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INCI of cosmetics, you know what you are applying on skin Part 14, the toluene

Toluene is a component of several cosmetic products and nail polish, if inhaled enter in the blood and reach the internal organs, toxic at high dosages

  1. Toluene

When we apply a face cream or a nail polish we evaluate the final result, the thickness of the product and maybe also the fragrance but we often don’t think that that cosmetic is the result of several substances, sometimes from a chemical origin other times more natural, that may interact with the body. With our posts, we are dedicating much attention to the INCI of cosmetics, the label that, by law, should list the ingredients of a cream, a serum or a hair mask, because in our opinion it is important to take care of our beauty but in a conscious way, by understanding the substances with which we get in touch and choosing the best cosmetic products for our health. There is nothing more beautiful than taking care of the body by respecting and protecting it. Today we will speak about toluene.


Toluene, this also the name under which it appears in the INCI, is a solvent used a lot in the formula of cosmetics, synthetic fragrances but, above all, nail polish. These types of products for nail have a characteristic smell that is given by the sum of particular toxic substances, such as DBP, formaldehyde and toluene. According to scientific studies indeed, toluene, when it is inhaled, enter into the body and already after 10 seconds from inhalation it is possible to find traces of toluene in the blood, from there this substance reaches the adipose tissue, the stomach, the liver, the kidney and the brain, with possible dangerous consequences on the central nervous system, the urinary and the digestive tracts (Demir et al, Analytical Cellular Pathology, Mar 2017 - Hadkhale et al, Int J Cancer, Apr 2017 - Lynge et al, Cancer Causes Control, May 1997). However, problems of this type can be observed only with high values of toluene and for this reason you don’t need to be alarmist if you use sometimes a nail polish or another cosmetic containing toluene, also because, by law, the amount of toluene in cosmetics has to remain under values considered safe. But the scientific researches are useful to allow you to understand that a treatment that at first sight seems to be inert, like the nail polish, actually contains substances that interact with the body and that, in the long run, can be accumulated and result toxic. For this reason, if you like to use often nail polish or cosmetics that contain toluene or during pregnancy a good choice may be to choose products without this substance. Cosmetics of this type are on the market and more and more companies are producing cosmetics without toluene and indicate this on the label.

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