Nail polish horror - What could cause this (nail lifting from nailbed)?

Hey guys,

I stumbled across a photo of someone's nails after using a nail polish with suspension base provided by Arminex (via distributor TCR). 

From reading the comments it looks like this happened to a few other people that used the same products made with this base as well. 

The post from the manufacturer that used this base in their products said this:

Important: If you experience any sensitivity to our polish please discontinue use. Please reach out to us at We have changed nail polish bases.

We have purchased inventory from two of our original base manufacturers and now import base globally as well. We will keep stock of a variety of 5 free, 4 free, and 3 free bases. Ingredients are now listed on each bottle accordingly. 

We have stopped using our most recent manufacturer’s base due to consistency issues over the last year. We purchased that base through our distributor TCR and our base is manufactured by Aminex which makes Nubar nail polish by Noubar Abrahamian. 

If you experienced any sensitivity to that formulation, please contact us if you are US domestic, or reach out to your international retailer. We will work to make it right for you. That base is limited to round printed bottles, and white labeled bottles with the preservative citric acid as the last ingredient. It is our opinion that the camphorated polishes work better, although the market prefers 5-free. We also have access to what seems to be a superb formaldehyde version as well, but have chosen not to stock any. If we ever do, it will be declared fully.

We purchased degassing equipment to remove air bubbles and found that Arminex base is very foamy, compared to the other manufacturers whose polish base does not foam upon degassing. The trapped air bubbles, we believe caused excessive odor and we are now suspicious of the citric acid used as a preservative. Once again, please discontinue use if sensitivity occurs and reach out to us. We will replace anything ordered in the last 60 days if you are sensitive to the base and can consider other options for older collections.

It appears that they've isolated the cause down to the base but it would appear that they're assuming the citric acid is the culprit. If the base is the same base in Nubar nail polish, then the ingredients would be as follows (taken from

Ethyl Acetate, Butyl Acetate, Nitrocellulose, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol/Trimellitic Anhydride Copolymer, Isopropyl Alcohol, Triphenyl Phosphate, Trimethal Pentanyl Diisobutyrate, Butyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Citric Acid, Benzophenone-1, Dimethicone

May Contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Black Iron Oxide, Red Iron Oxide, FD&C Yellow #5, Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyde Anide, Bismouth Oxychloride, D&C Red #7, D&C Red #6, D&C Red #34

Any thoughts on what it is in this base that could cause this (apparently it's called "onycholysis") to happen? 


  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    edited August 2015
    I would direct this question to Doug Schoon at Schoon Scientific (easily googled). He is hands down one of the most knowledgeable in this area. Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • I'm not very knowledgeable about nail formulations but biologically speaking, that looks like nail fungus to me. 

    The first thing I would do would be going to the derm or general doctor and sanitize all the clippers/files/etc. 
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