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Cures for Acetone Damaged Nails

author image Brynne Chandler
Emmy-award nominated screenwriter Brynne Chandler is a single mother of three who divides her time between professional research and varied cooking, fitness and home & gardening enterprises. A running enthusiast who regularly participates in San Francisco's Bay to Breakers run, Chandler works as an independent caterer, preparing healthy, nutritious meals for Phoenix area residents.
Cures for Acetone Damaged Nails
A woman soaking her fingernails in a bowl with clear liquid and orange flower petals. Photo Credit: Voyagerix/iStock/Getty Images

Having beautiful nails, as with anything else worth having, comes with a price. Changing nail polish requires using nail polish remover, which often contains acetone. According to Paul Bryson, co-director of research and Development at O.P.I., "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.” If you have acetone damaged nails, take heart. You can repair damaged nails with a little tender, loving care.

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Cuticle Creams

Cuticle creams are rich in emollients. They are generally sold in small pots, rather than pump jars, and often have the consistency of soft wax. “Massage the cream into and around your nails nightly before going to bed,” recommend the editors at

Olive Oil

Warm olive oil is soothing to dry, damaged nails.
Warm olive oil is soothing to dry, damaged nails.

Dryness is the main problem caused by acetone, and CNN Health suggests that you moisturize your nails and wear white cotton gloves to bed to combat this. Heat 1/4 to 1/2 cup of olive oil until it’s just a little warmer than room temperature. Soak your nails for 10 to 15 minutes before bedtime. Wipe off your hands, but do not wash them before putting on the cotton gloves. Do this every night for a month, and then use it as a twice-a-month preventive treatment.

Biotin Supplements

There is no scientific evidence that taking gelatin will help your nails, but Editor in Chief of Harvard Women’s Health Watch, Celeste Robb-Nicholson, M.D., states that “Evidence from a small controlled study suggests that oral supplementation of the B vitamin biotin may increase the thickness of brittle nails and reduce splitting, although it’s unclear whether it’s more effective than moisturizers.” CNN Health also suggests that you take biotin supplements for healthy nails. It's not a specific sure for acetone damaged nails, but anything you can do to make your nails stronger will help them recover.


Rubber gloves protect nails from the drying effects of harsh cleansers and hot water.
Rubber gloves protect nails from the drying effects of harsh cleansers and hot water.

Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes or using harsh chemicals, and keep them from drying out further by massaging a moisturizer into your hands and nails every time you wash them. CNN Health also suggests that you apply a nail-hardener, but advises that you avoid any that contain toluene sulfonamide or formaldehyde, because “These chemicals can cause redness or irritate the skin.”

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