Men, this probably doesn’t apply to you, but read on and show it to the women in your life.

Nail polish has become a fairly commonplace site, not just on the fingernails, but also on the toenails. Some women I meet go for weekly pedicures, which ends up being the highlight of the week. In extreme cases, some women even wear acrylic nails and tips on their toenails.

Ladies, I am not here to tell you to not wear polish on your toenails. I’ve tried, I’ve lost, I’ve given up. I do understand that when a woman wears an open toed shoe or sandal, they enjoy having polish on their nails. I get it!

But now it’s winter. It’s chilly here in Houston (for Houston) and outside of Houston it’s downright cold. Women are wearing closed shoes and boots, but guess what? You keep putting polish on your nails! So as a man I have to wonder…if no one is seeing the toenails, why continue to polish them?

Most nail polishes contain formaldehyde, a carcinogenic chemical best known for preserving cadavers. On a toenail, the formaldehyde dries and damages the nail. Polish remover has acetone, which is popular for removing adhesives and paint. Also damaging for the nail. This damage can leave the toenail susceptible to fungus infections. When your polish comes off you likely noticed that your nails are dry, white, and flaky. In fact, people often come into the office concerned that it’s fungus. No, it’s just damage from the polish.

It’s time to take a vacation. When you wear closed shoes, try not wearing polish to give your nails a chance to recover. That’s right…no polish. What’s that? Just a base coat? Well clear polish is still just as damaging. It’s not the color that does it, it’s the polish itself. No matter what your pedicurist tells you, whether it contains essential vitamins, whether it’s hypoallergenic, it doesn’t matter…it’s still nail polish.

Well is there any good polish? The answer is yes. Some polishes sold in stores do not contain formaldehyde. By most reports, they are inferior. Some nail polishes are considered “healthy” because they contain vitamins, tea tree oil, and other natural ingredients. These polishes are healthier for the nails and have some properties to resist or treat fungus. Even so, no polish is still better than this.

If you’re on vacation, go crazy, wear polish for the week if you’re wearing shoes that will show your toes. Get your nails ready for the next sandal season by treating them right.

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