No known benefits

Acetone at a glance

  • Organic compound found in trees, volcanic gases, and the human body
  • Solvent commonly used in nail polish removers
  • Colorless liquid that is volatile and highly flammable
  • Skin, eye, nose, and lung irritant

Acetone description

Acetone is a natural, organic compound that in its raw form is a colorless, volatile, highly flammable liquid with a distinctive sharp, fruity smell. It is the major component of many commercial nail polish removers. It occurs naturally in volcanic gases, trees, car exhaust, forest fires, and is produced by the human body during metabolism. When fat is broken down by the body, it produces chemicals known as ketones, of which acetone is the main one. Acetone is a solvent, a chemical that is used to dissolve other substances. It has many useful functions, including as a paint thinner and nail polish remover. The United States Food and Drug Administration has ruled acetone has GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status in food in an amount of 30 parts per million (ppm). While acetone has many industrial applications, it is also an irritant. It irritates skin on contact, causing moisture barrier damage. It can also cause eye, nose, and lung irritation (the latter if inhaled, such as when nail polish remover is used in areas with poor ventilation). For this reason, acetone as a major component of a skin care product should be avoided.

Acetone references

  • PubChem, Website
  • Delaware Health and Public Services, Website
  • United States Food and Drug Administration, Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 and Food Additive Status List
  • Centers for Disease Control, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Website

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.