The main ingredient in most nail polish is Acetone, also known as propanone. It is also an ingredient in other household products, such as varnishes, lacquers, and paint removers.
When you open the lid of a bottle of nail polish remover, a slightly harsh odor, like that of alcohol and faintly fruity. With such a strong smell, can it kill you?
So, without further ado, let’s find the answer through this article.
Do Nail Polish Removers Kill You?
If you use acetone in the right way, at the right dose, with the right proportion, then acetone will not harm you.
However, nail polish remover smoke can be dangerous for you because it consists of ingredients that are a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, acetone and chloroform. When you breathe in a large amount of nail polish remover smoke, it enters the body and travels through the blood supply to other organs, causing harm to the body.
If you are exposed with too much frequency or breathe in large amounts of acetone, it will be harmful to your health. The advice to use acetone safely is using it in a well-ventilated place, avoid direct contact with the skin for a long time, if you are a manicurist, you need to wear full protective equipment such as gloves, a mask.
When being poisoned with acetone, the victim may experience nausea, fainting, skin lesions on the mouth, even vomiting blood.
What Nail Polish Removers Are Made Of?
Nail polish remover often contains acetone, methyl acetate, or methyl ethyl ketone ingredients. These chemicals are used a lot in everyday life; you can see them in glue, paint thinner or nail polish. Among them, acetone is the most used in polishing removers.
How Dangerous Is Acetone?
Acetone is a natural substance and is also a solid solvent. In fact, it has many industrial applications, especially as paint thinner. If you’re a seasoned carpenter, you know how effective it is at removing paint from furniture.
Acetone is also the main ingredient in most nail polish removers. It has a very strong smell. Therefore it can be uncomfortable for some people. If misused, it can also damage your nail bed.
Basically, Acetone is proven to be safe when you take the proper precautions. That’s why painters and industrial workers have to wear gloves, masks, and protective gear when handling it.
The acetone content in nail polish removers is quite tiny. However, it’s hard to consider them entirely safe for you.
The Danger of Inhaling Acetone
- Increase your heart rate
- Confusion or disorientation
- Sore throat
- Severe cough
- Nasal irritation & sneezing
- Loss of consciousness
- Damage to mucous membranes
- Irritation of the lungs, eyes, nose, and throat
Long-term exposure to large amounts of acetone can cause permanent lung damage or respiratory illness. But, the workers will not bear the above risks if they wear safety glasses and respirators.
Effects on Skin
Acetone can enter the body, enter the bloodstream, and then be carried to the organs. The extent of its effects will depend on the amount of acetone in your body.
If only a small amount of Acetone gets into your body, your liver filters it out by breaking it down into harmless chemicals.
If you let Acetone stay on your skin for a long time, your skin can become dry, red, and cracked, known as dermatitis. However, it is safe when used in moderate amounts.
Usually, the amount of Acetone available in nail polish remover or household products is minimal. Therefore, it usually does not cause any health problems.
Dangers of Soaking Nails in Nail Polish Remover
In fact, manicurists can still use 100% pure acetone to remove your nail polish. That’s why they often wear protective gear like gloves, masks, etc.
In some cases, nail technicians will ask you to soak your nails in pure acetone to break down the gel polish. Unfortunately, this can cause severe irritation, dehydrating the nail bed, cuticle, and skin. As a result, some people face rashes, harsh, dry skin, nail discoloration, dry and cracked nails, and even permanent damage to the skin.
Therefore, after coming into contact with acetone, you should wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water and then use hand cream to restore oil on the skin.
Is It Safe To Use Nail Polish Remover?
Only use Nail Polish Remover
- Print highly ventilated areas
- Wear protective clothing, such as surgical gloves, respirators, goggles, etc.
- Avoid fire
- Use intensive moisturizing after direct contact with the skin
- Avoid swallowing, contact with sensitive skin such as eyes, nose, lips, etc.
In general, acetone poisoning is very rare. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you think you have been overexposed to acetone, it is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Alternatives for Acetone Nail Polish Remover
There are a few simple ways that also bring good results; these include:
1. Baking Soda
As we all know, baking soda has many uses, and one of them is to remove nail polish.
All you need to do is sprinkle some baking soda on your nails and then use a damp cloth or toothbrush to scrub them clean. However, it will take you a long time to clean, so be patient!
2. Lemon & White Vinegar
The acid in vinegar and lemon is said to soften nail polish. Start by pouring some vinegar into a small bowl and squeezing 2 lemons in. After that, use a cotton ball to scrub away the polish.
Alcohol can destroy polish in the same way as acetone. Remember that alcohol can also dry out the skin. Hence, use it in the correct dosage and always combine it with hand cream to replenish moisture in the cuticle.
Prepare a few cotton balls and choose from over 80 types of vodka.
Then, apply alcohol to the nail like a normal nail remover. It’s best to let it soak into the nail for 5 minutes to soften the polish before scrubbing it off.
Few people know that toothpaste can remove lingering polish. You just need to take a pea-sized amount, apply it to your nails and then scrub your nails with a tissue. The polish will slowly wear off until your nail is completely clean.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide
Take 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide and mix it with ¼ cup of hot water in a small bowl. Then, soak your nails in the mixture for 10 minutes. Once the polish has softened a bit, use a small spatula to scrape off the polish gently. You can use a nail file to remove any stubborn pieces.
If you are looking for natural alternatives, this method may not be right for you. Most hairspray contains chemicals that act like paint thinners, making them a great nail polish remover.
All you need to do is apply hairspray directly to your nails, let it sit for about a minute, and then wipe it off with a tissue.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does acetone in polish remover work?
The acetone molecules have a more substantial pulling effect on the nail polish polymers than the compounds in the paint, causing the nail polish to break down and separate from the nail surface quickly. A chemical reaction causes the polish to become liquid and easy to remove.
How is acetone poisoning diagnosed?
Your doctor will look for acetone levels and physical symptoms to diagnose your condition.
- Your doctor may use a urine test to determine the presence of acetone and ketones. Under normal circumstances, there are no ketones in your urine.
- You may also be ordered to have a blood test to check your blood ketone levels. This test can also determine how acidic your blood is.
Does acetone exist in nature?
Small amounts of acetone are created in our bodies through metabolism. It can also be found in volcanoes, trees, plants, forest fires, tobacco, landfills, and car exhaust. What’s more, this substance also exists in some fruits and vegetables.
How Is Acetone Used?
As mentioned above, acetone is used to create nail polish remover, industrial and household cleaning products. Besides, it also comes with the following benefits:
- Removing oil, gum, and other sticky substances from silk and wool.
- Providing a protective coating for car finishes and furniture
- Manufacturing drugs
- Dissolving Styrofoam
In general, breathing in or getting a large amount of acetone on the skin can be dangerous. However, it is unnecessary to stop using all acetone-containing products, including nail removers. Instead, just use the product sparingly, and you will likely avoid any harmful effects of acetone.
Thank you for reading! If you have any queries, let us know through the comments section.
Table of Contents
- Do Nail Polish Removers Kill You?
- What Nail Polish Removers Are Made Of?
- Dangers of Soaking Nails in Nail Polish Remover
- Is It Safe To Use Nail Polish Remover?
- Alternatives for Acetone Nail Polish Remover
- Frequently Asked Questions