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What Is Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover?

Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee

Non-acetone nail polish remover is a type of nail polish remover than does not contain acetone, a popular solvent ingredient in most nail polish removers. The solvent in this type of nail polish remover is generally made from ethyl acetate. Acetone-free nail polish removers are largely considered gentler for the nails and less likely to lead to excessive dryness and cracking. They may also be safer than acetone polish removers, since the regular application of acetone to the skin may carry some health risks. Non-acetone nail polish remover is considered just as effective as acetone nail polish remover for removing most types of varnish from the nails.

Nail polish removers in general work because they contain liquid polymer solvents. Nail varnish is a type of polymer. When nail polish remover of either type is applied to hardened nail polish, the solvents in the nail polish remover typically break down the nail varnish on a molecular level. Acetone, which is usually made from isopropyl alcohol, is a popular solvent because it works quickly. Non-acetone nail polish remover works almost as quickly, although the main ingredient is considered less harsh and drying for skin and nails.

Non-acetone nail polish remover.
Non-acetone nail polish remover.

Professional makeup artists often maintain that there is no noticeable benefit for using non-acetone nail polish remover instead of acetone polish remover. Both forms of nail polish remover can dry and irritate skin and nails, but the chances of significant or permanent damage to the skin or nails from normal use of mail polish remover are considered incredibly slim. Most makeup artists recommend using a product that contains added moisturizers. Conventional hand creams and lotions can also be applied to the hands and nails after using nail polish remover, to restore moisture to the tissues.

Clear nail polish.
Clear nail polish.

Acetone nail polish remover is generally considered safe for external use in humans. Animal research suggests, however, that long-term, regular use of acetone nail polish remover can be detrimental to health. Side effects of acetone exposure in animals typically include birth defects, liver damage, kidney damage, and nerve damage. Research into the potential long-term effects of topically applied acetone in humans remains incomplete, but most experts believe that adults should be able to use acetone nail polish remover without ill effects.

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