How to Remove Nail Glue from Skin Without Acetone?

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Using fake nails is a great way to look put together and feel confident for a special occasion or even day to day life. However, there are times when you do your nails at home or even have them done at a local salon then realize you have nail glue on your hands. This can be a challenge because you do not want to leave this glue on your hands, but you also do not want to add a ton of unwanted chemicals to your skin to remove the glue.

When you find yourself questioning how to remove nail glue from the skin without using acetone or harmful chemicals, you actually have a few options. Nail glue is similar to super glue or cyanoacrylate, which refers to any fast-drying glue. Though these glues are designed to last, you do not need to use damaging acetone to remove them. In fact, there are several common household items you can use to loosen the glue and safely remove it from your skin. Some of the ways we will further discuss use items like:

  • A toothbrush, nail file, or nail buffer
  • A container for soaking the skin
  • Any type of oil-based product like margarine, olive oil, baby oil, or petroleum jelly
  • Warm, soapy water
  • Cotton pads or cotton balls
  • Mineral oil
  • Laundry detergent
  • Salt

Why You Should Avoid Putting Acetone on the Skin?

When you end up with unwanted nail glue on your skin, the easiest way to remove the glue is by using acetone or an acetone-based nail polish remover. However, this can lead to a lot of unwanted problems that you may suffer from in the long run. While removing nail polish or fake nails may require acetone, you should avoid putting the chemical on your skin directly.

Skin that comes in direct contact with acetone can become red and irritated. If this exposure is prolonged or you tend to reach for the bottle of acetone often when using fake nails, it can leave your skin dry and cracked. Also, though it has a minimal effect, the acetone can actually be absorbed into your body through the skin.

Another important thing to consider is that exposure to acetone can actually burn your eyes, nose, and throat. If you use fake nails often, you may soak them in the substance to remove the nail, which causes you to inhale the fumes. If you breathe in these fumes for too long, you can experience headache, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, or even confusion. In fact, if you frequent nail salons you have probably noticed that many technicians wear masks to avoid these unwanted fumes.

Safe Ways to Safely Remove Nail Glue from the Skin

Luckily for those who want to avoid extended acetone usage on the skin, there are several other methods that you can use to remove the glue. Many of the most effective ways use items you probably already have around your home. Also, since many of these ways are more natural, you can even do a couple of methods to see which works best for your needs to remove all of the glue.

Seven ways to remove nail glue from your skin are;

1 – Try Simply Peeling It Off

This method is not recommended if you have an excess of glue on your hands or if you have very sensitive skin. If you notice that you only have a small spot of glue on one or two fingers, this can be an easy and quick way to remove it. You should always do this carefully and stop if you feel any pain or start to rip your skin in any way at all.

  • You should wait until the glue dries completely before you try to peel it off or remove it this way.
  • Avoid touching wet glue with your bare hands as this will simply spread it further and give you even bigger problems.
  • You can use your own fingernails or tweezers to grasp the edge of the dried glue and slowly peel it away.
  • If you cannot grab the edge of the glue easily, you can also try buffing it slightly with a nail file or buffer to loosen it further.

2 – Soak the Glue in a Soapy Water Mixture

A less invasive way to begin removing the nail glue from your skin is by giving your hand a soak in some nice, warm soapy water. You will simply need a bowl to complete the soak in, some warm water, and about a tablespoon of mild soap. You should soak your hand for around a minute, which will give the glue time to soften and should allow it to be peeled away easily.

If you seem to still be struggling with the glue removal, you can use a nail file or buffer like the previous method. You can buff the area slightly and soak your hands again for another minute in the mixture, then try to remove it again. It may take a few attempts for you to remove the glue fully, but this is a very easy method.

For a more intensive soak, you can add some lemon juice to the mixture or even use lemon juice in the place of the water. The acid in the juice can help break down the glue more quickly. However, this can also be more damaging to your skin.

3 – Use Mineral Oil or Spirits

Mineral oils are extremely easy on the skin and a great option for those who have sensitive skin. You can soak the skin that is covered in glue with a cotton pad that has been soaked in mineral oil or spirits. This should help the glue loosen and you can simply pull it away, you can repeat the soak as needed until the glue is completely removed.

4 – Apply an Oil Based Product

There are several items around your home that are oil-based and can be used to help break the bond and loosen the glue from your skin. The oil in many cooking products can help break down the glue until it can gently be peeled away. Some of the many items that you can use to do this are:

  • Margarine
  • Olive Oil
  • Baby Oil

For each of these products, you will simply rub it onto the area covered in glue until it begins coming off or can easily be peeled away.

5 – Make a Laundry Detergent Mixture

This may seem odd but is very similar to the soap and water method that I previously mentioned. You can use pretty much any laundry detergent you have in your home and simply mix it with warm water. If you have a smaller area of glue on your hand, you should only need around ¼ of a cup of detergent and water combined in a small bowl or cup.

Depending on how much glue you have on your skin, you may want to soak your hands in this mixture for some time. Once you have let the area soak, you should be able to remove the glue easily. If you are still struggling to remove the glue, you can soak the area again or try combining this method with some of the others mentioned.

6 – Scrub the Area with Salt

Salt is something that is in almost every single household and can be a great way to remove unwanted glue from your skin. You can make a simple paste from salt and water, which should be abrasive enough to scrape away any glue present. As you can expect, this can be a little damaging to your skin and may not be the best choice for those with more sensitive skin.

There are a few steps you need to take to ensure you get the best results from this method.

  1. Put two tablespoons of salt into your hands.
  2. Add a little bit of water into the salt to turn it into a paste.
  3. Begin rubbing the paste into your hands for 30 seconds to a minute.
  4. Rinse some of the salt away from your hands.
  5. Rub the salt into your hands further to continue to break down the glue.
  6. Soon the salt will dissipate and should have removed any signs of glue with it.

7 – Petroleum Jelly Removes Tough Glue

When you realize that you have glue on your skin, start by washing them with hot, soapy water. This may remove some easier areas, leaving only the really stuck glue behind. You can then apply petroleum jelly generously to the area, which will work similarly to oil-based products.

You will then rub the area that has the petroleum jelly with a nail file for about a minute. You can continue to do this until the glue begins coming off and you can remove it fully. Once the glue is gone, you should wash and dry your hands again to remove any of the petroleum jelly left behind.

Protecting Your Nails and Skin When Using Acetone

Of course, there are times when you may need to use acetone to remove your nail polish or fake nails. This can be very damaging as we previously mentioned and avoiding the use of the product is important. We will further discuss alternative products you can use that do not contain acetone, but if you have to use it in a pinch, there are ways to protect your nails and skin.

If you want to keep your skin smooth and nails as strong as possible, you should be proactive when it comes to avoiding damage. If you have already noticed some damage due to acetone and remover use, it is not too late to repair this damage and reverse the negative effects. There are several products that you can use to help with this, such as:

  • Cuticle Creams – You can find quality cuticle creams in many beauty stores or the health and beauty section of most drugstores. These are usually sold in small containers and are a wax-like consistency. Most cuticle creams are rich in emollients, which dry nails and skin love. You should apply this to your cuticles and the skin around your nails each night for best results.
  • Olive Oil – Just like this is a great way to remove unwanted glue from your hands, it is also a great way to repair your damaged nails or skin due to the oils moisturizing properties. For best results, you can heat about a half of a cup of oil until it is slightly above room temperature. You can then soak your hands for ten to fifteen minutes, wipe them off without washing, and put on a pair of gloves to sleep in to lock in the moisture. This should be done a couple of times a month or more often if you are suffering from more extensive damage.
  • Use Added Skin Protection – You should be using a moisturizer daily to help counteract any dryness you may have from acetone usage. However, you should also avoid coming in contact with any other drying agents. For example, if you wash dishes regularly by hand or use household cleaning products often, wearing rubber gloves helps protect your skin from becoming dryer.
  • Take Biotin Supplements – There is not a substantial amount of research that proves taking vitamins will help with nail growth or improve nail quality, but biotin is amongst those that seem to have an effect. Though this may not counteract acetone use itself, taking biotin can help your nails become less brittle and grow thicker, this should reduce splitting. Having stronger nails, to begin with, can lower the risk of routine fake nails or acetone use.

Best Acetone Free Nail Polish Removers Available

Of course, the best way to avoid acetone damage is to avoid acetone entirely. As I previously mentioned, there are several ways to remove nail glue from your skin without the use of acetone. However, there are also safe ways that you can remove nail polish or fake nails without the usage of acetone-based products.

Acetone quickly became a favorite amongst nail technicians and for at-home use, because it is so fast-acting and effective. However, once individuals began realizing the negative side effects that come with the product, they began seeking alternatives. This has led to an increase in companies offering nail polish removers that are acetone free and do not contain as many chemicals as other options that are on the market today.

Many brands are avoiding the use of acetone in their products and instead are suing safer options like essential oils and soy-based removers. These range in pricing from drug store to higher-end, but they are becoming readily available through many of the major retailers. Also, many salons are beginning to implement these more natural removers to help protect their customers.

To read more about specific acetone-free removers that are available today, you can read this amazing article by New York Magazine. However, some of my personal favorites from the list are:

  • Natural Plant Based nail polish remover Acetone free, contains conditioner and strengthener for nails and cuticles. Safe for kid non-toxic. This product is getting some great reviews and is highly rated. Go check out the reviews that this product is getting at Amazon

Removing Fake Nails Without Acetone

Now that you know a variety of safe ways to remove nail glue from skin, ways to protect your nails, and alternatives to your traditional acetone nail polish removers, its time to learn how to remove your fake nails safely. Many of our previously mentioned methods to remove nail glue from skin can also be beneficial when it comes to removing fake nails themselves. However, we will discuss a step by step way to remove your fake nails safely.

  1. Begin by cutting your acrylic or fake nail to a smaller size. Having smaller nails can speed up the removal process. Also, the end of the fake nail is not attached to your physical nail and can easily be clipped away.
  2. Use tweezers or an orange stick to pry the edges of the fake nail away from your natural nail. You should never forcefully remove your fakes because it can greatly damage your natural nails. However, if you have had the nails on for some time, you should be able to pry the edges away fairly easily.
  3. Pour a small amount of your favorite acetone-free polish into a bowl or cup. You should put enough to submerge your nails, but you do not need it to be too deep.
  4. After some time, you should feel the nail begin to slip away from your natural nail and it can easily be pulled off with tweezers. If some nails are still sticking in place, pry them away a little more and continue the soaking process. You should never force the nail off but continue to soak until they can easily be removed.

You can try this method with warm water as well if you want to avoid using chemicals entirely, but this does take longer and may not work for everyone. Also, you should always protect your nails using cuticle oil and added moisturizers after removing your nails.