What is it?
Toluenesulfonamide/formaldehyde resin is the usual resin in the majority of nail polish,  varnishes, lacquers and nail hardeners. It is added to improve gloss, adhesion, strength and flow of the polish. It also makes the polish resistant to chipping.

How can I avoid it?
Skin contact with Toluenesulfonamide/formaldehyde resin is required for it to cause a rash.  Discontinuation of exposure to products containing Toluenesulfonamide/formaldehyde resin should result in improvement and/or resolution of your dermatitis. By law, all products made in the US for topical use have the ingredients listed either on the product package or the box that contains it, so check the labeling of ingredients in your nail care products.   At work, request a material safety data sheet (MSDS) to help identify potential sources of exposure.  

As a substitute, nail varnishes containing polyester resins, such as many manufactured by Clinique, Revlon, Shiseido, and Almay, could be used. The polyester resin nail polishes may not perform as well as those containing TSFR and despite being declared TSFR-free, may not be totally free of this chemical in some cases.

Contact allergy to nail products can occur at sites touched by the nails, such as the neck, face, and especially the eyelids.

  • Nail polish 
  • Base coats 
  • Top coats
  • Under coats 
  • Quick-drying nail polish
  • Vinyl lacquers
  • PVA adhesives
  • Acrylics
  • Industrial adhesive primer

Other names for toluenesulfonamide/formaldehyde resin (TSFR):
  • Arylsulfonamide formaldehyde resin 
  • Benzenesulfomanide, 4 methyl polymer with formaldehyde 
  • Ketjenflex MH (Akzo)
  • Ketjenflex MS 80 (Akzo) 
  • Lustralite (Reichold) 
  • o-Toluenesulfonamide/formaldehyde resin 
  • p-Toluenesulfonamide/formaldehyde resin 
  • Rit-O-lite MHP (Rit chem) 
  • Santolite MHP (Monsanto) 
  • Santolite MS
  • Santolite MS 80 
  • Tosylamide/formaldehyde resin
Potential cross-reacting/co-reacting substances:
  • Formaldehyde

How safe is it?

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