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Acetone: What’s the Story?


The nail industry would be lost without acetone! It is the fastest and most efficient solvent remover for all nail coatings.

Understanding its Properties and Safety in Nail Care

Some people believe is an allergen (as they have experienced adverse skin reactions) but it is not an allergen. We know that the human body produces small quantities of acetone during metabolism. Some diabetic conditions produce larger quantities as do those on a keto diet.

It is, however, an irritant as it dries the skin faster than natural moisturisation and can be replaced when overused and after long skin contact.

It is a lot safer than alternatives used in ‘acetone free’ polish removers. These take considerable; y longer to remove coatings so result in much longer skin contact and therefore are more irritation. Acetone is a solvent as opposed to iso-propyl alcohol which is an alcohol. The two work well together as a nail plate cleanser as they remove different types of oils found on the nail plate.

The Versatility and Precautions of Acetone:

Understanding its Usage in Various Industries

It is used in many applications in a variety of industries. e.g. paints, and household cleaners It poses no significant danger to the environment except aquatic systems due to microbial consumption. There is no strong evidence of chronic health effects with normal and careful usage.

It is a very volatile chemical so evaporates quickly. It is unwise to have too much in a salon breathing environment but US regulators state that 1000 parts per million is the safety limit which is quite high, especially when the known alternative, ethyl acetate (used in acetone free removers) is only 400 PPM.

The most hazardous property of acetone is its extreme flammability so must be kept away from a naked flame and even electrical equipment as a flash point can occur!

Smart Buying

It is best to purchase from beauty wholesalers. This is because it will be suitable for cosmetic use and relatively pure. Bottles bought from other outlets is likely to be contaminated with other chemicals that could cause adverse skin reactions.

Proper Storage of Acetone

Storing acetone should be in its original container in a cool, dark place away from any electricity. When decanted into pumps for the nail desk make sure it had a lid and is kept away from direct sunlight where it could get too warm and therefore more volatile.

Best Practices for Acetone Usage

It is safer to use when wearing protective nitrile gloves to avoid any skin irritation. For the removal of coatings that need soaking, a small piece of cotton wool (about the same size of the nail) that has been soaked in acetone and placed on the nail then wrapped in foil is one of the safest methods as it avoids too much skin contact and reduces evaporation. If using a bowl method, the surrounding skin can be painted with a petroleum jelly product and the bowl covered with a towel.

Disposing of Acetone Safely

Spillages should be soaked up with disposable towels and placed in a metal bin with a lid and liner. This should be removed and double bagged and placed in the usual refuse arrangement. Do NOT tip down any sink as most water pipes are plastic and it will end up in natural water.

Larger quantities of used acetone should be collected by the local hazardous waste management system.

Don’t be afraid of acetone just understand how to use it safely and effectively.


Acetone plays a vital role in the nail industry as a fast and efficient solvent remover for various nail coatings. While some individuals may mistakenly believe it to be an allergen, it is essential to understand that it is not one, but rather an irritant when used excessively with prolonged skin contact.

Acetone stands out as a safer alternative compared to “acetone-free” polish removers, as it efficiently removes coatings, reducing the risk of extended skin contact and subsequent irritation.

Being aware of acetone’s volatile and highly flammable nature is crucial for safe usage. Proper storage in a cool, dark place away from electricity is recommended to maintain stability and avoid potential hazards.

To protect against skin irritation, users should opt for protective nitrile gloves while handling acetone. The article provides safe methods for usage, such as the effective soaking of cotton wool and wrapping it on the nail to minimise skin contact and evaporation.

Disposing responsibly is vital, with spillages collected in metal bins with lids and liners. Pouring down sinks must be avoided to prevent potential contamination of natural water sources. Larger quantities should be handled through local hazardous waste management systems.

For assured quality and purity, it is advisable to purchase acetone from reputable beauty wholesalers, ensuring its suitability for cosmetic use and reducing the risk of skin reactions from potentially contaminated sources.

In conclusion, with proper knowledge and adherence to safety practices, acetone can be a valuable asset in the nail industry, offering efficient and effective results while ensuring the well-being of both professionals and users alike.


1. Is acetone an allergen, and can it cause skin reactions?
Acetone is not an allergen; however, it can be an irritant to the skin when overused or with prolonged contact. Some individuals may experience adverse skin reactions due to its drying effect. It’s essential to handle acetone with care and use protective measures, such as wearing nitrile gloves, to avoid skin irritation.

2. Why is acetone considered a safer option compared to “acetone-free” polish removers?
It is a preferred choice for nail coating removal due to its efficiency and quick action. Unlike “acetone-free” removers, which may take considerably longer to remove coatings, acetone reduces skin contact time, thereby minimizing irritation risks. It is essential to use responsibly and according to recommended guidelines.

3. How should acetone be safely stored and disposed of?
To ensure safety, acetone should be stored in its original container in a cool, dark place, away from electricity and direct sunlight. When decanted into pumps or containers, ensure they have a lid and are kept away from heat to reduce volatility. Spillages should be absorbed with disposable towels and disposed of in metal bins with lids and liners. Avoid pouring acetone down sinks, as it can contaminate natural water sources. Larger quantities should be handled through local hazardous waste management systems for proper disposal.


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