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The Real Culprit Behind Yellow Nails

If you’ve ever seen Dazzle Dry mention being nitrocellulose-free, you might be wondering what that means and how exactly it affects you.  Let’s start with the definition. Nitrocellulose-free means that during the manufacturing of the product, nitrocellulose and nitrocellulose-containing ingredients are not added.

Nitrocellulose is a large molecule belonging to the chemical group called polymers. It’s a chemically modified cellulose derived from cotton or purified wood pulp, which is reacted with nitric acid using sulfuric acid to promote and expedite the reaction. (Interesting fact: nitrocellulose is packaged and sold wet with alcohol because dried nitrocellulose is actually an explosive powder!)

Now let’s move on to how this affects you. In traditional nail polishes, nitrocellulose acts as the film former that binds the discrete pigment particles together when the polish is applied to the nail and the volatile solvents are allowed to evaporate to dry the polish.

Unfortunately, nitrocellulose is not stable. In the presence of moisture, the reaction is reversed and some of the nitrated areas revert to cellulose and nitric acid. Nitric acid is a strong oxidizer and will oxidize most organic molecules - including the nail plates, which are composed of oxidizable molecules like keratin and ceramides - ultimately causing them to turn yellow.

Of course most nail polish brands that use nitrocellulose as a primary film former claim that the yellowing of nails is due to the pigments that make up the color of their polishes, which is why they recommend using a base coat under the polish to protect the nail plate from yellowing.

However, the base coats offered by these polish brands also contain nitrocellulose, so consumers using them still have yellowed nails. Let’s step outside of chemistry box for a second and look at this issue in a deductive way: If the pigments are the cause, the nails should take on the color of the polish, right? So if a person wears a blue polish the nails should turn blue, black polish should result in black nails, etc. Instead, regardless of what color is used, the end result is always yellow.

Dazzle Dry solves this problem by using a non-nitrocellulose film former. Cellulose acetate butyrate also comes from cotton or purified wood pulp just like nitrocellulose.  But instead of modifying it using the harsh acids nitric acid and sulfuric acid, cellulose is modified with the organic acids, acetic acid and butyric acid. Both acids are not oxidizers, so applying them directly on the nail does not have a yellowing effect.

Pretty cool, right? It’s just one of the many ways Dazzle Dry is creating beauty without compromise. Visit our website to find out how else Dazzle Dry is producing the only quick-drying, long-lasting, nontoxic lacquers in the industry.