22+ Differences Between Acetone And Nail Polish Remover (Explained)

Yes, believe it or not, there is a vast difference between Acetone and nail paint remover. For starters, Acetone itself is a solvent.

On the other hand, nail paint remover can either contain Acetone as the main ingredient or any other solvent. Both of these products are colorless and are used for cleansing and washing purposes. 


Main points of Acetone:

  • A flammable liquid that is used to clean nails or various surfaces.
  • It is colorless or transparent. 
  • It does not contain any odor. 
  • It is a solvent itself. 
  • It can be easily mixed up with water. 
  • In the beauty industry, it is used to make the gel or moisturizer thinner. 
  • People with dark nails should use Acetone. 

Main points of Nail polish remover:

  • An organic solvent that is used popularly to clean nails. 
  • It can come in various colors.
  • It can contain different types of odors. 
  • It can either contain Acetone as the primary solvent or any other type of natural solvent.  
  • It cannot be mixed up with water. 
  • Besides cleaning the nails, nail paint remover can help in floor lamination as well. 
  • People with lighter nails should use nail paint remover without any Acetone. 

Comparison Between Acetone And Nail Polish Remover

Parameters AcetoneNail Polish Remover
Meaning A flammable and transparent liquid that is mixable with water.An organic solvent includes other solvents that are colored or scented. 
Components presentAcetone is a component itself. It may contain Acetone or other alternative ingredients which are natural. 
Solubility Easily miscible with water.It cannot be mixed with water.
UsesAcetone is present in nail polish remover.It is also included in paints. It can help in removing grease.For cleaning silk and wool from textiles. It is used in making lacquers for cars.The process of making plastic includes Acetone as well. Besides cleaning the nails, nail paint remover can also help in floor lamination. You can sanitize or clean your razor blades with nail paint remover. Nail paint remover helps in cleaning your footwear. It can be either sneakers or shoes. Ink marks can vanish with nail paint removers. Stickers can be easily removed with removers.  You can clean your bathtub with nail paint remover. 
Recommended forPeople with dark nails or who have opted for a Shellac manicurePeople with lighter nails and sensitive skin or cuticles
Advantages Less toxic
Safe to use 
For sensitive nails 
It does not dry up the nails or cuticle 
Works on fake nails as well. 

Major Difference Between Acetone And Nail Polish Remover

What Is Acetone?

You might have encountered the term ‘Acetone’ in your chemistry class. Propane, commonly known as Acetone, is a naturally occurring solvent. The chemical formula of Acetone is CH3(CO)CH3. Rings bell?

Acetone has been in use in the electronic industry, pharmaceutical industry, beauty industry, and even in the plastic industry. In addition, the cleansing nature of Acetone makes it appropriate for making face cream and nail paint remover.

Acetone simply breaks down the upper surface of nail paint. The top layer contains plasticizers, color pigments and etc. When the upper layer is removed, the inner layer automatically gets removed. 

The application of Acetone to remove nail polish is very easy. The process is very fast. However, besides its convenient process, Acetone also offers some drawbacks.

It can dry up your nails and surrounding cuticles. Further, it can also cause itchiness in the surrounding area of your nails. 

What Is Nail Polish Remover?

Nail paint remover is another type of solvent that often contain strong types of fragrances, oils, or sometimes, even colors. The most important components of nail polish remover are Acetone and ethyl acetate.

These two ingredients make the removal of nail paint very easy and quick. Nail polish remover might act a little harsh on your skin and nails. 

You can apply nail polish remover with the help of a cotton pad. Two types of removers are available in the market- Acetone removers or non-Acetone or natural removers.


Steps to apply Acetone or nail polish remover:

  • Nail polish remover should not be used frequently as it can dry up your nails. 
  • You can dab a cotton ball in the nail polish remover or Acetone. 
  • Rub the nail paint with the remover until your nails are completely clean. 
  • Do not leave the remover or Acetone open for a long time as they can evaporate faster. 
  • It’s recommended to be in a ventilated room so that the remover can stay for longer. 
  • On the other hand, do not keep on applying the nail paint daily or keep on changing it without giving your nails a break that they deserve. 
  • Avoid keeping the remover on your nails for long. 

Contrast Between Acetone And Nail Polish Remover


  • Acetone – A flammable and transparent liquid that is mixable with water. It is volatile in nature. 
  • Nail Polish Remover – A scented and colored solvent that is organic. These nail paint removers may also contain various types of oils or other solvents. 


  • Acetone – An organic liquid that is used in dissolving or diluting substances. They are included in various industries. In the beauty industry, Acetone is generally used in nail paint removers, creams, and lotions. The Acetone makes them thin. 
  • Nail Polish Remover – Nail polish remover traditionally contained Acetone. But now, they include a variety of alternative ingredients to act less harsh on the nails. Besides cleaning your nails, nail paint remover can remove permanent stains from clear surfaces like glass or any fabric. 

Recommended For

  • Acetone- People with dark nails can use Acetone. It is also used in shellac manicures. 
  • Nail Polish Remover- People who have naturally lighter nails should go with nail polish remover. Non-Acetone nail polish remover is gentle on cuticles. So, it is the best option for people with sensitive nails. 


  • Acetone – Acetone is a solvent itself. This solvent is present in various products and even nail polish remover. So, in simple words, Acetone is a solvent that is used in its concentrated form. 
  • Nail Polish Remover – Nail polish remover traditionally contained Acetone. But now, it’s not necessary that nail paint should contain Acetone as its main solvent. 


  • Acetone – The property of Acetone makes it soluble or easily mixable with water. 
  • Nail Polish Remover – If nail polish remover has Acetone in it, it is easily miscible with water. However, due to the presence of alternative components, some nail paint removers do not mix up with water. 


Acetone – The uses of Acetone are as follows:

  • Acetone is present in nail polish remover.
  • It is also included in paints. 
  • It can help in removing grease.
  • For cleaning silk and wool from textiles. 
  • It is used in making lacquers for cars.
  • The process of making plastic includes Acetone as well. 

Nail Polish Remover – A nail polish remover can be used in multiple ways other than vanishing the nail paint. Some of the uses are as follows:

  • Floor lamination and concrete tiling can be done with nail polish remover. 
  • You can sanitize or clean your razor blades with nail paint remover. 
  • Nail paint remover helps in cleaning your footwear. It can be either sneakers or shoes. 
  • Ink marks can vanish with nail paint removers. 
  • Stickers can be easily removed with removers. 
  •  You can clean your bathtub with nail paint remover. 


Acetone – Acetone can last up to 60 months.

Nail Paint Remover – Every nail paint remover contains a PAO symbol. This PAO symbol contains a number and a letter. They indicate the number of months they can last up to. Generally, a nail point remover can last up to 12-24 months.  


Acetone – The basic pros of Acetone are as follows:

  • They are very effective. 
  • They contain comparatively fewer toxins. 
  • They are safe to use. 
  • It is soluble in water.
  • Acetone is easily obtained. 
  • It is very affordable and convenient. 
  • It is not a pollutant to the environment. 

Nail Paint Remover – The pros of using Nail paint remover are as follows:

  • The oil present in nail paint remover can benefit your cuticle. 
  • They do not dry up your nails.
  • Some of the nail paint removers do not contain Acetone, so they are gentle on your nails. 
  • You can use nail paint removers on fake nails as well. 
  • These nail paint removers also nourish the nails. 
  • They work best for people with sensitive nails. 


Disadvantages of using Acetone:

  • It can make you feel nauseated. 
  • If inhaled accidentally, it can cause coughing. 
  • It can make your nails brittle. 
  • It can damage your cuticles to some extent. 
  • Acetone can be proved toxic to your health. 
  • It can lead to dehydration of your skin. 
  • It may cause irritation to sensitive skin. 

Disadvantages of using Nail polish remover:

  • Non-Acetone nail polish remover is comparatively less efficient. 
  • It requires time to completely clean your nails. 
  • Using nail paint remover would need constant scribbling. 
  • It will not work on shellac nails. 
  • Inhalation of vapor can harm your body. 
  • They are easily evaporated. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Is it necessary to use nail paint remover?

Yes, it is absolutely necessary to remove the nail paint. If your nail paint is not removed on time, it may absorb the natural moisture and soak the upper layers of your nails.

This, in turn, will dry out your nails. Also, your nails need room to breathe as well. Hence, it’s better to take a break from nail paint at regular intervals. 

Q2. Which one is better out of Acetone and nail paint remover?

As mentioned, Acetone is actually very effective than nail polish removers that do not contain Acetone. The only major con of using Acetone is that it can be very harmful to sensitive nails.

It can dry up the nails. On the other hand, non-Acetone nail paint removers are not much harmful or toxic.

But they are very slow. You would be required to apply the remover, again and again, to completely take off the nail paint. 

Q3. What will happen if I soak my fingers in the Acetone?

Soaking your fingers for a long time in Acetone may cause you serious harm. People with sensitive skin might face several issues.

Acetone on naked skin can cause irritation, itches, rashes, and many skin issues. Nail discoloration can also happen if you keep your fingers dipped in Acetone for a longer time.

Q4. Is it normal if my nails hurt after applying nail paint remover?

Nail polish remover might contain some chemicals in a low quantity that can cause irritation. They might leave your nails dry. This is called hangnails.

But this irritation is only for a while. However, if the problem persists, you should consult a professional.

For home remedies, you can regularly moisturize your nails and avoid taking out cuticles just after removing the nail paint. 

Q5. How can I take care of my nails after using Acetone?

For regaining the strength of your nails after using Acetone, you can use nail moisturizer. Generally, Acetone can take away the natural moisture of your nails.

Hence, using a generous amount of moisturizer on your nails and cuticles can benefit you. You can also soak your nails in milk once in a while. This will remove the dirt or residue and whiten your nails. 

Similar Posts:

Was this article helpful?

Leave a Comment