Polish Remover Q & A

What exactly is acetone?
Acetone is a solvent.  It is essentially a paint stripper.  It dissolves polish very effectively.

Is polish remover safe to use on nails? And how much/how frequently?

Polish remover is safe to use on nails when nails are healthy and intact.  Super dry, damaged, peeling nails will get drier and more brittle with acetone exposure.  Nails that are lifted or separated from the nail bed (onycholysis) should not be exposed to acetone because the acetone will bathe the delicate, exposed nail bed causing irritation and further separation.  Acetone can come into contact with a healthy nail plate but should not be extensively contacting the surrounding skin.  When it comes to frequency of use, it really depends on the status of your nail health.  If you are tolerating a weekly manicure and your nails are not peeling or don’t look super dry, stripped and brittle when your polish is removed then there is no reason to change your routine.  Gels require a 10 min pure acetone soak and that will usually cause extensive dehydration and nail peeling.  If your nails are dry and brittle and you need to use polish, opt for a non-acetone variety as it is likely somewhat less drying and damaging.

Is there a correct way to use acetone to remove nail polish?

Dab each nail with some remover and then go back to each one and individually swipe them clean.  The first dab gets the polish dissolving.  Theoretically the faster you can remove it, the less exposure your nail has.  Always remember to wash after with soap and water.

How does acetone negatively impact one’s nail structure/overall nail health?

Polish remover significantly dries out the nail leading to brittleness, splitting, nail peeling and breakage.  In fact, you might notice that your manicurist will swipe the nails with acetone before applying base coat.  When she does this, she is using the acetone as a dehydrator to remove any surface oils that will prevent maximum adhesion of polish.

Polish remover also dissolves the polish and makes the pigments migrate and leach.  This process can cause post-polish yellowing. 

Any other polish remover knowledge?

Many people don’t realize that the damage that we do to our nails is not from the polish but rather the remover.  The polish can actually be protective to the nail.  Taking a break from polish remover exposure allows the nail to recover.