Should I be Concerned About Acetone?

The long and short of it is NO. Acetone is one of the safest chemical professionals use in the salon. There have been a few “scare tactic” & sensationalism news reports to the contrary recently.

Here is what an expert in the professional nail industry has to say in response:

Totally scientifically misleading and unfair. The fact that Acetone dissolves styrofoam  [as Dr. Oz demonstrated on his TV show recentl] has no bearing on whether it harms nails or not, because they are different substances. Water dissolves sugar easily, but does it dissolve your nails? Of course not. Really, it’s a completely false comparison.

Acetone is the safest and greenest of all the polish removers; all the substitutes either produce significantly more photochemical smog (eg, ethyl acetate, methyl ethyl ketone), or, are more dangerous to people (eg, methyl acetate).

 In fact, all the more polluting substitutes are now illegal in California, and will likely soon be banned in other states and Canada. If we then lose Acetone due to misguided scaremongering, what’s left?

The fear of acetone is utterly misguided. It came about, apparently, because someone in a marketing department needed a “point of difference” to sell their product, and therefore came up with the idea of a “non-acetone” remover. Advertising, “no acetone!”, psychologically planted the idea that there was something wrong with acetone in people’s heads. But it’s not true.

Of course don’t drink it or expose it to sparks or flame, and above all don’t microwave it (“boom!”) But all of these cautions apply equally well or more so with respect to the acetone substitutes…. so why not use the safest of them all?
Paul Bryson, Ph.D.
Director of Research & Development, OPI Products Inc.,
Scientific Advisor, ROB|B Salon,


About ShelteredStitches

Webmaster, NY & VA Licensed Nail Specialist, sew'er/quilter
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