The effects of acetone on your skin

Livoliv nail polish woman painting nails

It goes without saying that if you love nail polish, you need nail polish remover. This beauty staple is perhaps used without much thought- so we want to shed some light on the best nail polish removers to use and the effects of acetone on skin.

We here at Livoliv don’t agree with the use of harsh, toxic chemicals in our nail polishes- or any other beauty product for that matter. That’s why it’s so important to us that we are 5-free! Our vegan, non-toxic nail polishes are all free of the 5 worst chemicals used in the cosmetics industry. Read more about these completely unnecessary chemicals here. 

acetone and non-acetone nail polish removers

Nail polish remover works because it contains a solvent that dissolves the polish left on your nail. They typically come in two forms: acetone and non-acetone. Most high street brands offer both types and it is usually clearly labelled on the front of the bottle. 

Non-acetone removers use less aggressive solvents compared to acetone- like ethyl acetate and isopropyl alcohol. Used in large quantities these will still cause negative effects- but at a slower rate than the more aggravating acetone. 

effects of acetone on skin, woman removes nail polish


so… what is acetone?

Acetone is a clear, harsh, smelly and highly flammable liquid. It’s a solvent that is capable of disintegrating even plastic! The main reason this chemical is used in nail polish remover is that of course, it works quickly and efficiently when removing your leftover manicure. 

Although it is the most effective- acetone can have some nasty effects on your nails and skin if it is used too much. Something that is easy to do when you’re constantly wanting to switch up your nail colour! Acetone can cause:

  • Increased sensitivity of the nail plate 
  • Skin sensitivity around the nails 
  • Dry skin around the nails 
  • Dry nail plate
  • Peeling and brittle nails 


Acrylics are the easiest way to add some length and glam to your existing nails, so it’s easy to see why they are so popular. They can last for a long time if done by a reputable professional- but, no matter how good your acrylics are, there will come a time where they need to be removed. 

One of the most common ways to remove these stubborn acrylics is soaking nails in acetone. This can cause damage to both your nails and your skin, so we recommend using an alternative method that doesn’t involve the use of harsh toxic ingredients!

Did you know that you can remove acrylics with warm water? It’s true! Simply trim the acrylic to the shortest length possible and gently pry the edges away with a nail tool. Pour warm water into a bowl and leave your nails to soak for at least 45 minutes, to really make sure the water can penetrate the nail and dissolve the glue. This can seem time consuming but we suggest getting a good Netflix documentary at the ready- your nails will be off in no time! 

Woman with acrylic nails


Non toxic nail polish removers

 As the demand for non toxic, healthier alternatives to beauty products is ever increasing, Nail polish remover is no exception. A lot of beauty brands are releasing completely non-toxic removers so you don’t have to put your hands and nails through the drying effects of acetone!

Many of these removers are infused with essentials like organ oil and vitamins A, C and E- all of which will help battle the harsh effects of the chemicals and nourish your hands and nails. 

Livoliv are very excited to announce that in just a few weeks time, we will be releasing our very own acetone-free, 5-free nail polish remover! Keep your eyes peeled on our social media pages for further updates. 


Livoliv vegan essential oil


Make your own nail polish remover

Alternatively, you can always experiment with other ways to remove your favourite polish with natural ingredients found in your food cupboards! Vinegar and lemon mixed together has been proven as an effective way to remove polish and not a harsh chemical in sight!

Simply mix 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Dip your fingers in warm water for a few minutes and then rub your nails with the mixture. Spending 20 seconds on each nail gently rubbing away will remove all traces of your old manicure. Give it a try!

make your own non toxic nail polish

What we’ve learnt

We know that choosing an effective nail polish remover can be difficult; especially when products that contain acetone are so quick and easy. 

Non-acetone removers are your best bet when it comes to easily accessible options- they may take a little longer to remove the polish but we think that is a small price to pay to save the health of our nails!

Our top tip: Remember to always moisturise after removing any nail polish. Replenish your hands and nails to avoid the harsh drying effects of any remover. Our nourishing hand creams are blended with vegan ingredients and essential oils- we have 5 luscious scents to choose from! 

Livoliv vegan cruelty free hand creams

That’s it from the Nail Desk this week, we’ll be back next Sunday with some more beauty tips and tricks for you to get stuck into. If you don’t already, make sure to give us a follow on Instagram for more of our vegan products and mesmerising nail colours!

Liv happily and enjoy this spring sunshine… 

The LivOliv team x 

2 thoughts on “The effects of acetone on your skin

  1. Cissy says:

    I don’t know if you can help me: I had gel on my nails and wanted to soak it off, which I normally have done every two weeks. Because of the current quarantine, I wanted to do it myself. I usually have to soak at the salon for about 15 minutes. I used non-acetone remover and since it didn’t seem to be working, kept my nails soaking for about 30 minutes of more. I finally gave up and within a day or so, my fingertips became very dry, appeared to blister (without pain or any pus) and the skin separated as if I had cut it. It shortly thereafter peeled off and now my fingertips are dry, scaly, very red and sensitive.

    I have been using aloe gel and other smooth Vaseline-like topicals but it doesn’t seem to be helping. Can you recommend any treatment or this? Thank you.


    • LivOliv says:

      Hi Cissy

      Sorry to hear that you’ve injured your fingers, I would suggest rubbing a soothing hand cream into them many times a day and before you go to bed every night until they heal.
      The best way to remove the gels yourself is to rough buff the surface of the gel, get half a cotton pad with acetone remover in and fold over in to a 1/4 size piece, then place pad on nail and wrap with foil, leave on for 15 mins and they gel should brush off. Have a look at our blog for more details.

      But I would leave it until your skin feels better first.
      I hope that is helpful, we do sell a very good range of hand creams and nail oils online, the Lavender and Geranium would work the best.

      All the best

      The LivOliv Team x

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