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Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Skin? Find Out the Truth About It

You attended a children’s party and one of the set-ups there was face paint. Should you go for it?

Surely, it wasn’t their intention, but acrylic paints are often considered as “toxic” on your skin because of the ingredients they contain. The next question now is can you use acrylic paint on skin?

Read on to find out the truth behind this claim – before you put the pain on your face.​

What is acrylic paint?

Acrylic paints are water-based paints that can be thinned and cleaned with water. They can mimic the quality of oil paints, but with limited toxicity and cleaning issues.

It also dries quickly, thereby allowing you to work quickly as well. Acrylics are also versatile, which means you can easily use them to create effects and styles.

Acrylic paints are not bad, especially when used for its purpose, which is for painting. The danger lies when you use them outside their purpose, which means the paint doesn’t go to the canvas.

This is because acrylics contain the following ingredients:​

  • Formaldehyde, a probable human carcinogen used as a preservative to prolong the shelf life of acrylic paints
  • Lead
  • Ammonia
  • Cobalt
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Magnesium
  • Pigments for color

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Many acrylic paints such as Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint Set or Crafts 4 All list their ingredients. Make sure you check the ingredients to make sure you won’t do more harm than good on your skin.​

acrylic painting

Can you use acrylic paint on skin?​

As a general rule, you can’t use acrylic paint on your skin, regardless of what was written on the label.

Keep in mind that your skin, particularly the skin on your face is delicate. This means any contact with harsh, toxic chemicals could lead to unwanted side effects such as redness and irritation.

Unfortunately, acrylic paint contains harsh chemicals and toxic ingredients, and is not intended for skin contact.​

What about the label that says “non-toxic ?”

This simply means that acrylic pain is not toxic when used for acrylic painting purposes. The presence of chemicals is only on its minimum level, but this doesn’t mean there is no danger attached to it.

Similarly, “non toxic” doesn’t mean it is safe on your skin or cleared for cosmetic use. Unless the US Food and Drug Administration announced that there is an acrylic paint intended for cosmetic use, it is best to avoid them completely.​

Nonetheless, there are cases when you have to apply acrylic paint on your skin. In case you can’t say no..

here are safety tips to remember if you plan to use acrylic paint on your skin:

  • Test the paint on small portion of your skin to check for any adverse reaction.
  • Use acrylics in well-ventilated area. This is because formaldehyde is released into the air as it dries, thereby minimizing the possible side effects.
  • Avoid using acrylic paint near your nose and mouth. This kind of paint should never be ingested.
  • Don’t let the acrylic paint stay on your skin for prolonged period.
  • Look for acrylic paints with less than one percent formaldehyde. This is generally safe and the paint can be labeled as “non-toxic”.
  • Always clean the brushes or sponges that will be used on your skin.

How to remove acrylic paint on your skin

Let’s say you insist on applying acrylic paint on your skin. That’s okay. The good news is you can easily remove it. Check out various ways on how to remove this kind of paint on your skin:

1. Run warm water on painted area and use a mild soap to wash off the paint. Pat the area dry once you’ve taken off the point.

2. Wash the painted area with warm water and gentle water to loosen the paint. Then, rub baby oil on the paint spots to get rid of them. Rinse loose paint with warm water.

3. After washing the painted spots with warm water, rub a washcloth or cotton ball with alcohol in circular motion to get rid of the paint. Once the paint is removed, wash the area with gentle soap and warm water.

4. Loosen the paint on your skin by running it over warm water. Dip a washcloth in acetone and place it on top of the painted areas for 30 seconds to one minute. Rinse with warm water and mild soap.

The bottom line

On its face, acrylic paints are safe especially when you will use it for its intended purpose – painting. Because of the ingredients it contains, it is advisable to stay away from any form of paint on your skin to prevent any unwanted side effects.

If you can’t say no, then remember these things:

Wash the paint immediately

Do not allow it to stay on your skin for a prolonged period

Check for any adverse reactions

Will you still use acrylic paint on your skin? The choice is yours. Don’t forget to share your thoughts.​

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