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Nail Polish Removers, Are they Dangerous?

Nail Polish RemoversNail polish remover, if you donít own the product, youíve certainly been exposed to it at least once in your lifetime. But have you ever wondered what exactly goes into that bottle of nail polish remover and whether itís really safe? Trying to decipher the ingredients on the back of a bottle of nail polish remover can be difficult if not ridiculous since companies often consider their products a trade secret, allowing them to exclude many of the ingredients listed on the productís label. Below is our guide to many of the ingredients found in nail polish removers and the risks involved in using them.



The simplest ketone, acetone (also known as 2-propanone) is the main ingredient found in most nail polish removers and is a highly inflammable liquid widely used as an organic solvent and as material for making plastics.



A colorless flammable liquid obtained from petroleum or coal tar, toluene is found in many nail polish removers and is also used as a solvent in high-octane fuels.


Ethyl Acetate

This chemical has been found as a substitute for nail polish removers that label themselves as non-acetone. Ethyl acetate is a fragrant colorless flammable volatile liquid ester made from ethanol and acetic acid. The chemical is also used in perfumes and as a solvent for plastics.


What effects can these chemicals have on someone? There are two classifications known for chemical effects. Local effect is when a chemical has irritated the skin, eyes, nose or throat. Chemicals that are absorbed into the bloodstream are known as a systemic effect. Headaches, dizziness and nausea are all examples caused by a systemic effect.


Acetone can irritate and cause redness to eyes, but it can cause lung congestion and even shortness of breath when exposed to itsí vapors. The effects however are only temporary if exposure is minimal. If you happen to work in a salon and are exposed to the chemical repeatedly, acetone can cause chronic bronchitis.


Toluene can also cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, confusion and even memory loss in minimal exposure. Repeated exposure to the chemical has been known to cause birth defects in children.


Ethyl acetate has been known to have the same effects as both acetone and toluene when exposed to.


If you are really concerned about chemical exposures from your nail polish remover, try switching to a safer product. There is a wide selection of nail polish removers on the market that contain gentler ingredients. Many even contain moisturizing ingredients that help to prevent dry and brittle nails. Also keep in mind that non-acetone removers are no safer than acetone removers and if you use artificial nails, avoid products that contain.


If you do use nail polish removers at home, remember that they are highly flammable and should be stored away from electrical and heating sources.


If you are getting your nails done at a salon, make sure the nail salon disposes of Nail Polish Remover correctly. Nail Polish Removers should be stored in airtight containers and used polish remover should be disposed of in a seal metal trashcan.


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