Is Acetone Bad For You

Is Acetone Bad For You ~ TIPS On Acetone And Healthy Nails. The word ‘chemical’ has been getting a bad rap lately. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to love all things ‘organic’ and ‘natural’. But to obsess over chemical-free labels can really take a toll on us, and even cloud our judgment. 

A Must-Read: How to Cut Toenails if You Can’t Reach Them

Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back and question what’s been said. In this case, we want to know—are acetone nail polish removers really bad for us? 

Let’s find out. 

Is Acetone Bad For You: Issue

Ever since non-acetone removers came into the mix, the word’s pretty much out now that acetone removers are harmful to us. 

You may be hearing claims that acetone is harmful and dries your nails. Some even argue that acetone is a carcinogen.

These are all pretty vague claims. If you’ve heard some of these rumors, we’ll bet they don’t have facts to back these up. 

But are these myths actually facts?

Is Acetone Bad For You: The Truth

The sole purpose of acetone removers is to dissolve nail polish. To do that, you would need solvents to do the dirty work. And that dirty work is not easy. 

Solvents are essentially liquids that can dissolve substances. Nail polishes commonly contain resin and plasticizers, all of which are substances that are hard to deal with. This is where acetone comes in. 

Out of all solvents, acetone’s ability to dissolve nail polish is unmatched. But here’s the catch—because of its intensity, acetone can be drying to the cuticles. 

That said, there is some truth to the claim about acetone being drying. However, that’s not the reason why acetone is being pushed off the side. 

In fact, drying is not really the issue here. Since acetone is insanely effective, it’s still the top choice for many nail technicians. Acetone just does a splendid job of efficiently removing nail polish better than any other solvent. 

In short, it’s an irreplaceable ingredient, a staple for any effective nail polish remover.

But as in all things, it should be done in moderation. That means if you paint your nails frequently, you should counter all that drying with hydration. And we’ll get to that later. 

Is Acetone Bad For You: Avoidance 

The bigger reason why people choose gentler alternatives like non-acetone removers is because of the rising popularity of fake nails. 

Unfortunately, acetone is the number one enemy of fake nails. It can effortlessly weaken nail extensions and ‘lift’ them, which is an unsightly look for any nail, natural or artificial.

Is Acetone Bad For You: Toxic 

Despite its strong and chemical-y scent, acetone is not toxic, nor is it a carcinogen. 

In fact, it was removed from the list of toxic chemicals made by the EPCRA and is generally recognized as safe by the FDA. 

But it’s not exactly an ingestible substance, either. 

Remember that acetone is still a solvent and is capable of breaking down solutes. That said, acetone still has some level of toxicity, but it’s not that relevant enough to pose a serious threat to humans. 

At its worst, acetone can cause mild to severe irritation to the skin and eyes at high concentrations. But that is only possible if you’re too reckless. And we trust that you wouldn’t be too careless, right?

If you’d like to read up more on how acetone can affect our bodies, check the toxicology report right here.

Is Acetone Bad For You: Verdict

With everything that’s been mentioned above, let’s list down the good and bad that come with acetone: 


  • Can quickly remove nail polish better than any other formula
  • A small amount of acetone can already do the job
  • More economical than non-acetone in both short and long term
  • Can save you more time when used


  • Can dry cuticles
  • Not advisable for fake nails
  • Flammable

To be honest, the cons of acetone can be a bit far-reaching. It’s only drying if you don’t know how to rehydrate. And as a flammable substance, accidents can be easily avoided if you’re in the right environmental conditions. 

If you have no skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, you shouldn’t let a little dose of acetone worry you. Just be sure to use it under the right conditions. Remember that most solvents, including acetone, are highly flammable.

If you’re about to use it for removing your polish, be sure you’re in a well-ventilated area. Also, stay away from candles. 

Overall, acetone clearly wins when it comes to removing nail polish.

Is Acetone Bad For You: Dry Cuticles

Using acetone remover once a week is still a breathable situation for your skin and cuticles. They can still adapt and tolerate acetone exposure at this rate. But if you want to play it safe, there are ways to ensure that you won’t experience dryness. 

Rub Olive Oil on the Skin Near the Nails

Acetone clings on to whatever moisture it can hold on to and evaporates with it. Once you put acetone on your nails, guaranteed some of it will make contact with your skin, drying it in the process. 

The solution? Before applying acetone, rub some olive oil on the ends of your nails where it meets the skin. Think of the oil as an extra layer of protection from acetone.

The oil will be absorbed by the acetone, all the while preventing your skin from drying out. Think of the oil as an extra layer of protection from acetone. 

Mix Moisturizing Additives to Your Acetone

If you’re not keen on the idea of putting oil on your fingertips, then maybe this method might work. 

Brands like Bliss Kiss and Baroness X offer additives that contain moisturizing agents like jojoba oil and glycerin. It’s very easy to use, too. All you have to do is mix every last drop of the additive to a small bottle of acetone. 

It’s recommended you start off with a 4oz bottle of acetone if it’s your first time. 

Once it’s mixed, your new potion is ready to use anytime! Just be sure not to sniff the mixture. While additives are not harmful when inhaled, acetone is still very much present in it. You wouldn’t want to risk anything. 

Never Neglect Hydrating During a Manicure 

You can skip the extra precautions above if you’re diligent in cleaning and moisturizing your nails regularly. Adding a hydrating oil in your manicure routine is the perfect time to condition your cuticles and nails. 

If you do this consistently, you wouldn’t have to worry about drying out your cuticles and skin, even if you use acetone remover frequently.

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