Alternatives to Acetone

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Acetone is a colorless liquid often found in nail polish removers, paint, and varnish. While it does a great job of removing nail polish and even rust, many people are on the hunt for a less risky and drying alternative. Depending on your needs, you can use a few alternatives to acetone.

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What Is Acetone?

Acetone is a clear, naturally occurring solvent found in trees, plants, tobacco smoke, landfills, and exhaust from automobiles. Humans also have small amounts of acetone in their bodies. Acetone is used in cosmetics and beauty products, plastics, and the textile industry for wool and silk.

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While acetone capably breaks down nail polish and other paints, it can cause eye irritation and can be poisonous if consumed. Aside from these risks, acetone is also highly flammable, so it's important to be cautious about where you choose to remove your nail polish at home when using an acetone-based remover. Though acetone use carries some risks, ​Medical News Today​ notes that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has classified it as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) when used as intended.

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When using products containing acetone, including nail polish remover, paint, and some cleaning products, good ventilation is key to avoid breathing in too many fumes. After using acetone, you should also make sure to wash your hands with soap and water.

Tip

When using products with acetone, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated space away from children and pets.

Alternatives to Acetone

Though acetone is safe to use in small concentrations and in the proper setting, it is easier than ever to find acetone-free products. There are many different reasons someone may choose to use an acetone-free product, ranging from health reasons to wanting a less abrasive product. Luckily, it's becoming easier to find swaps that effectively remove polish and keep nails healthy when it comes to finding alternatives to acetone.

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Soy-Based Nail Polish Remover

In the past, acetone nail polish removers were the go-to and the only reliable way to remove gel and other stubborn nail polishes, like glitter-based ones. Now, you can find reliable nail polish removers without acetone that are less aggressive and drying, and some of the most popular ones are soy-based polish removers.

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Soy-based nail polish removers are increasing in popularity, especially for people who want to find alternatives to acetone-based removers. Soy-based products soften the nail polish on nails to make it easier to remove. While they may not remove your nail polish as quickly as an acetone remover, soy-based removers are gentler on both your nails and skin, helping to prevent dry, brittle nails.

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Rubbing Alcohol

Whether you're looking for an alternative to acetone or forgot to pick up a bottle of nail polish remover at the store, rubbing alcohol may be the solution. If you need to remove nail polish, apply rubbing alcohol to some cotton balls. Place the cotton balls on your nails for at least 10 seconds and then gently move them back and forth on your nail to remove the polish. Similar to soy-based polish removers, it may take longer for the rubbing alcohol to remove polish from your nails, but with patience and persistence, it should do the trick.

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