Can Acetone Prune Fingers? Is That A Bad Thing?

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If you love nail polish, prune fingers are something you’ve probably experienced at least once in the past.

Can Acetone Prune Fingers? Yes, it can! And it’s not great for your skin.

This is most common with acrylic nail users because the most common method of removing acrylic nails is to soak them in acetone nail polish remover until they can easily come off.

Here we’re going to unpack the reasons that your fingers prune, if it’s safe, and take a closer look at the effects of acetone on your skin. 


What Is Acetone? 

Acetone is known as a liquid chemical solvent. It is used worldwide, typically to remove paint and glue. It is a highly volatile substance, usually clear, harsh smelling, and extremely flammable. It should be handled responsibly.

That said, it is also naturally occurring in the human body. It is naturally produced as the body breaks down fat.

Inhaling too much acetone can cause health problems like lung irritation, sore throat, dizziness, and headache. 

Acetone is cool when introduced to the skin, and your body will alarm you if there is a negative reaction. This is typically experienced by a burning sensation which generally indicates an open wound or broken skin. 

If you feel this burning sensation, it will be preferable to hold off on using the Acetone for a day or two until healed. However, as long as it’s used in safe amounts and with the proper precautions, acetone will not cause any major or long-term health issues. 

However, as long as it’s used in safe amounts and with the proper precautions, acetone will not cause any major or long-term health issues. 

Why Do My Fingers Prune When I Use Acetone?

You’ve probably experienced this same issue when you’re in a bubble bath, sauna, or swimming for long periods. The reason that Acetone may cause your fingers to prune is the same as with water or steam; it’s your body’s reaction to something unusual.

Some believe it is an evolutionary adaptation to help the body grip things when the fingers are wet.

When your fingers are soaked or exposed to Acetone for longer than normal, your central nervous system fires a message to your blood vessels, instructing them to shrink. 

Your body’s reaction to this is to send blood away from the specific area, in this case, your fingers. This, in turn, makes your vessels thinner and causes your skin to fold over them, thus causing wrinkles or a prune-like appearance. 

Suppose you are experiencing your fingers pruning without any clear reason, like being soaked in liquid. In that case, it may be worth visiting your doctor as this may be a sign of dehydration or other illnesses such as diabetes, thyroid disease, and lupus, among others. 

Will There Be Any Lasting Damage to My Fingers or Nails?

Usually, your vessels will start to return to their normal size and functions once your fingers are no longer soaking. The length of time this takes may differ from one person to another, but generally, the restoration process starts within a few minutes. 

As mentioned, soaking your fingers in Acetone in moderation is reasonably safe. However, if you are doing so regularly, then there is a greater likelihood that you will be affected more severely than just getting pruney fingers.

Excessive exposure to Acetone can lead to:

  • Red, dry and cracked skin
  • Sensitivity around your fingernail
  • Peeling and brittle nails
  • Fragile, easily-cracked nails

How Can I Get Rid of Acetone Prune Fingers?

If you’ve ruled out the chance of prune fingers being caused by an underlying medical condition, your fingers should return to normal fairly soon after removing them from soaking.

There are a few methods that you can consider that can help speed up returning your hands to their normal state. And there are a few considerations for your next soak to minimize the harmful effects: 

  • Wash your hands and fingers immediately after soaking. Be thorough in ensuring that all the skin that was exposed to the acetone has been completely washed away
  • Use a quality moisturizer that’s loaded with natural oils and vitamins to rehydrate your hands and fingers
  • Try not to soak your fingers in Acetone too frequently
  • Try using dental floss to remove acrylic nails
  • Consult your doctor if the issue persists over a few days


To sum up, brief exposure to Acetone and the odd prune fingers situation is no more harmful than what you experience from being in the water for too long. It will not cause any lasting damage. But it is good practice not to allow your skin to be exposed to it for longer than what is necessary.

Products with Acetone are safe to use when you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take the necessary precautions to minimize any potential negative effects. 

Still, don’t be afraid to take a break from fake nails from time to time!

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).