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Can acetone soak change the structure of your nails

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Will acetone make the nails curl more?

Typically, the nail plate is soaked in acetone for ten minutes or more which can temporarily remove approximately 2 or 3% (possibly more) of the water content of the nail plate. That’s enough to temporarily alter the shape of the nail plate, but this will not affect the nail plate’s actual structure. I define “structure” as the way in which the nail cells join and make the nail plate.

Understanding the Relationship between Structure and Form

Acetone can’t change the structure at all. 

 The same thing occurs when a sponge changes shape as it dries out, but the sponge’s structure hasn’t changed at all. When water is put back into the sponge, it would revert to its wet shape. If the structure changed, then it would not do so and would instead become permanently deformed.

Even though acetone can NOT deform the structure of the nail plate, it will temporarily remove some of the moisture, especially near the surface of the nail plate. After removing the nail plate from the acetone, the nail plate’s lost moisture will be automatically replaced by moisture from the underlying nail bed and surrounding tissues, as shown in Image 2.

Image 2: Nail Plate lost moisture
Dry Sponge and Wet Sponge

Understanding the Impact of Acetone Soak on Nail Shape and Flexibility

If the shape changes, this will be much more noticeable on thin or highly flexible nail plates and probably not as noticeable on thicker nail plates with less flexibility. Acetone could never completely remove all oil or water, just a small amount. For example, a nail plate that contained 15% water and 4% oil, after soaking in acetone for 30 minutes might now contain 12% water and 3% oil.

All the lost water and oil is mostly removed from the surface and this should certainly be replaced within approximately eight to twelve hours, maybe faster for some nails. Likely any changes in the shape of the nail plate should be reversed in hours, not days.

Understanding the Effects of Acetone on Skin and Safe Usage Tips

Acetone can do the same to the skin; remove some water and oil, mostly from just the surface of the skin. It’s not likely to penetrate deeper in significant quantities, it escapes too quickly by evaporation. This is one of the reasons acetone is the preferred solvent for nail coating removal.

It is safe to use for this application and doesn’t harm the nail plate. The main concern with acetone is that it is highly flammable, so use cautiously to avoid fires. Use this solvent wisely and responsibly!

Debunking the Link between Acetone Soak and Nail Shape.

After analyzing the effects of acetone on the nail plate and skin, it can be concluded that acetone can temporarily alter the shape of the nail plate by removing some of its moisture, but it cannot change the nail plate’s structure.

Acetone can make thin and highly flexible nails more susceptible to shape changes than thicker and less flexible nails. However, any changes in nail shape should be reversed within hours. Acetone can also remove water and oil from the skin, making it a safe solvent for nail coating removal. It is essential to use acetone cautiously, as it is highly flammable.

Therefore, to ensure safe usage, one should follow the below tips:

  • Use acetone wisely and responsibly
  • Use it in a well-ventilated area
  • Avoid exposure to heat, sparks, or flames while using acetone
  • Keep it away from children and pets
  • Store it in a cool and dry place

Futher Reading

Take a look at this article that discusses the impact of acetone on natural nails:

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