Is Nail Glue Toxic?

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

( As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. )

Are you a fan of fancy nail art but worried about the safety of your go-to nail glue? Studies show that some adhesives used in manicures contain harmful chemical compounds. Our blog post aims to shed light on this issue, exploring the potential toxicity of nail glue and offering safer alternatives for your beauty routines.

Dive right in to protect not only your nails, but also your overall health!

  • Nail glue can potentially have harmful effects on your skin, hair, and nails, causing irritation, redness, dryness, and weak or brittle nails.
  • Improper disposal of nail glue containers can contribute to plastic waste pollution and harm aquatic life and ecosystems.
  • Safer alternatives to traditional nail glue include adhesive tabs or stickers and homemade options using natural ingredients like gelatin or vinegar and baking soda.
  • If exposed to nail glue, seek medical attention if experiencing symptoms such as skin irritation or difficulty breathing. To remove nail glue safely, soak your nails in warm soapy water, file gently with a fine-grit nail file, moisturize with cuticle oil or cream, and wash hands thoroughly.

What is Nail Glue and How is it Used?

Nail glue is a strong adhesive commonly used to attach false nails or repair broken natural nails.

Ingredients commonly found in nail glue

Nail glue is a concoction of several ingredients, each serving its function. A primary component in most nail glues is ethyl cyanoacrylate. This powerful adhesive holds false nails or fixes broken ones effectively but can cause harm if not handled properly.

Another ingredient often found is BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole). While it lends longevity to the product, BHA has raised concerns regarding potential health risks through extended usage.

Citric acid is typically added to maintain pH balance and prevent premature hardening of the glue inside the tube. Some manufacturers opt for hydroxypropyl methacrylate, which aids adhesion while reducing irritation potential for sensitive skin types.

(Always ensure safety measures are observed – more on this topic further down)

Potential Toxicity of Nail Glue

Nail glue can potentially have harmful effects on your skin, hair, and nails. Discover the risks and how to make safer choices for your nail care routine. Read more to protect yourself from potential toxicity.

Harmful effects on skin, hair, and nails

Using nail glue can have harmful effects on your skin, hair, and nails. The toxic chemicals found in nail glue can cause irritation, redness, and dryness of the skin. They can also damage the hair follicles and lead to brittle or weak nails.

Exposure to these chemicals may even result in allergic reactions or infections. It is important to be aware of these risks and take necessary precautions when using nail glue to protect your overall nail health and avoid potential harm.

Environmental impact

Nail glue has not only potential risks to human health but also an environmental impact. When nail glue is used, the chemicals it contains can be released into the environment, posing a threat to aquatic life and ecosystems.

Additionally, improper disposal of nail glue bottles or packaging can contribute to plastic waste pollution. These toxic substances can end up in waterways, soil, and even our drinking water sources.

Nail glue containers should be disposed of responsibly by following local recycling guidelines or hazardous waste disposal procedures. By being conscious of the environmental impact of nail glue and taking proper disposal measures, we can help minimize harm to our planet while still enjoying beautiful nails.

Safer Alternatives to Traditional Nail Glue

Explore non-toxic, plant-based options and DIY alternatives for a healthier nail care routine.

DIY alternatives

You can explore DIY alternatives to traditional nail glue that are safer for your nails and health. One option is to use adhesive tabs or stickers, which allow you to easily apply and remove false nails without the need for glue.

Another DIY alternative is making your own homemade nail glue using natural ingredients like gelatin or a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda. These alternatives are non-toxic, easy to find, and can help reduce exposure to harmful chemicals found in conventional nail glues.

Remember, always prioritize your safety when choosing products for your beauty routine.

What to Do if Exposed to Nail Glue

If you accidentally get nail glue on your skin, it’s important to know the proper steps to take for safe removal and minimize any potential harm. Keep reading to learn more!

Seeking medical attention

If you accidentally come into contact with nail glue and experience symptoms such as skin irritation, eye redness, or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention. Nail glue contains toxic chemicals that can be harmful to your health.

Promptly informing a medical professional about the exposure will ensure appropriate treatment and prevent any potential complications. It’s better to be safe by seeking proper medical care when dealing with possible nail glue toxicity.

Removing nail glue safely

To remove nail glue safely, start by soaking your nails in warm soapy water for about 10 minutes. This will help to soften the glue and make it easier to remove. After soaking, gently file the surface of your nails using a fine-grit nail file to buff away any remaining glue.

Be careful not to file too aggressively, as this can damage your natural nails. Once you have filed away most of the glue, apply a moisturizing cuticle oil or cream to nourish and hydrate your nails.

Finally, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to ensure that all residue is removed. Remember, it’s important to take these precautions when removing nail glue in order to protect the health of your nails and minimize potential harm from toxic chemicals found in some glues.

Conclusion: Making Safer Choices for Your Nails

Choose nail glue wisely to protect your health. Opt for non-toxic options that comply with strict regulations and avoid harmful ingredients like cyanoacrylate, BHA, citric acid, and hydroxypropyl methacrylate.

Take safety precautions when using nail glue, such as working in a well-ventilated area and wearing gloves. By making safer choices for your nails, you can enjoy beautiful nails without compromising your well-being.


1. Is nail glue toxic?

Yes, nail adhesive can be toxic if it contains certain poisonous ingredients, making it essential to handle with care and in well-ventilated areas.

2. What are the health risks of using nail glue?

The dangers of using nail glue include accidental poisoning from ingestion or inhalation and adverse reactions such as skin irritation around nails or eyes when used in place of false eyelash glue.

3. Can we use any safety measures while applying nail glue?

Certainly! Always use gloves while applying toxic nail adhesive and ensure you’re in a well-ventilated area to avoid hazards related to exposure, toxicity and potential risks associated with inhaling the fumes.

4. How do I remove toxic nail adhesive safely?

Nail polish remover is usually effective for removing press-on nails glued with potentially hazardous adhesives; however, if your skin reacts negatively to this product or symptoms persist after removal, seek immediate medical attention.

5. Are there nontoxic alternatives available instead of regular nail glues?

Indeed! Market offers many non-toxic products including specially formulated false eyelash glues that can double up for press on nails without posing health risks like traditional adhesives do.

Best Way to Remove Nail Glue
Is Nail Glue Bad for Your Nails?
How to Get Nail Glue Out of Carpet
How to Get Nail Glue Off Hardwood Floors
How to Get Nail Glue Off Leather
How to Remove Nail Glue from Surfaces
How to Get Nail Glue Out of Hair
How to Get Nail Glue Off Glass
Best Nail Glues 101: Super Strong Hold Nail Tips
Is Nail Glue Toxic?
No comments to show.
Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

Get your FREE copy.

Sign Up & Subscribe

* indicates required

Intuit Mailchimp