Acetone versus Acetone-free
This Q&A was in seen recently in my local
newspaper, can someone comment on this answer?
Q: Are acetone-free nail polish removers really more gentle on nails than the acetone based ones?
A: Acetone free nail polish removers are just as drying as those that use acetone. In essence, if a nail polish remover can cut through polish, it can work away at the nail, too. 11/30/99
Simple answers often create more questions. It is true that any solvent capable of removing nail enamel will also remove oils and moisture from the surface of the nail plate. But is this "drying"? That depends entirely on your definition of "drying".
Removing surface oils and moisture on normal, healthy nails is not a problem. We do it every time we wash and dry our hands. Problems arise when this is done to an extreme. If I washed my hands dozens of times every day, after a while... I'm gonna have a problem. I over did it!
The same can happen when we over do anything. If we remove and reapply our nail polish too often, that can cause the natural nail plate to become damaged and look "dried out". This will happen with any type of nail polish remover. I agree with the author- non acetone polish removers are NOT better or safer for the natural nail, as they are often promoted. I prefer acetone, myself. It is an extremely safe solvent. In fact, it is one of the safest solvents nail techs use.
Now, if you find that acetone is too drying on certain clients, dilute
it with water! You can usually add 1 part water to 8-10 parts acetone and
it will still remove polish, but be much less damaging to nails that are
already having problems. This also works great for removing polish from
wraps and other enchantments, without damage.
Director of R&D
Creative Nail Design
I'm 36, and I've worked in laboratories and chemical production areas since I was 19. Like many chemists, I have washed my hands in acetone THOUSANDS of times, and have never observed acetone (or any other solvents) "eating" my nails. It just doesn't happen. Nail damage is caused by overfilling, or by impatiently tearing off nail enhancements -- not by solvents.
However, it is true that both acetone and the common acetone substitutes
(such as ethyl acetate and methyl ethyl ketone), are very DRYING to the
nails and skin. To avoid this drying effect, both acetone and non-acetone
removers ought to have some moisturizing ingredients added. Or, moisturizing lotion can be used immediately after removing the polish.
CoDirector of R&D, O.P.I.