Is Acetone a Safe Nail Polish Remover?

Posted by Ana on Nov 27th 2012

acetone and brittle nails

What's the safest way to remove my polish?

How Safe Is Acetone?

I've been told non-acetone is less harmful. Is that true?

MYTH: Non-Acetone Products Are Safer

The debate about polish removers is almost as heated as the debate about coffee's health benefits. And we're about to settle it for you.

Why Is Acetone the Better Choice?

Acetone evaporates quickly, thus the vapors do not exceed safe levels in salons or the home.

Scientists say that acetone has good 'warning properties' that limit over exposure. If there is ever too much in the air you will be aware of it and do something about it. Your body has it's own alarm system and lets you know when any substance is dangerous.

Acetone is NOT suspected to cause cancer by any credible government or scientific agency.

Acetone can not pass into the dermis or basal level of the skin and none will pass through the nail plate. So clearly, it is NOT absorbed into the blood stream.

According to scientific information, Acetone is slightly safer than the primary ingredients in non-acetone remover, ethyl acetate & methyl ethyl ketone. Surprised?

Acetone and the ingredients in non-acetone remover are all safe solvents when used sparingly.

And lastly, acetone dissolves polish faster than non-acetone removers.

What Is A Solvent?

Water is the safest solvent in the nail industry.

In fact, water is called the universal solvent because it dissolves more things than any other known substance. But if water dissolved nail polish, the nail industry would be dead.

The second safest solvent used in salons is acetone. That's why it is sold for this purpose. It is true that there are much faster acting solvents, but they are not safe enough for use in the salon or the home.

But It Dries My Skin

Yes! Why?

Because if removers can dissolve polish, they also dissolve oil...your skin's natural oils.

Let's Look Closer

Your nails dry out because of evaporation. Oils and moisture travel from your nail bed, through your nail and evaporate into the air. Yes... the oil evaporates too.

Then you put polish remover on your nails, it evaporates almost instantaneously, much faster than water and takes your dissolved natural oils with it. Poof!

Removers can't go into your nails or skin....they're too busy evaporating. This is how they dry your skin.

What Should I Do?

Since acetone dissolves polish faster, it's actually less drying than non-acetone! You'll be scrubbing a lot longer with non-acetone removers.

Use an acetone formula containing olive oil and vitamin E or make your own recipe (see below).

When used only once a week, the drying effect is temporary and quickly corrects itself.

Rub some olive oil on your skin around your nails before removing your polish. The acetone will take that oil instead.

Rinse your hands after removing your polish. But wait an hour before polishing your nails again, so the water has time to evaporate from your nails.

Re-moisturize your skin and nails with a quality nail and cuticle oil after your manicure and then twice daily.

Suggested Products

Pure Nail and Cuticle Oil

DIY Acetone Remover with Emollients Recipe

  • Ten Parts Acetone
  • One Part Water
  • 2 to 10 drops of Olive Oil (counteracts dryness)
  • 2 to 5 drops of Vitamin E (fights free radical toxins)

What Do You Think?

Did this article change your thoughts in any way?