How To Get Nail Glue Off The Skin – 8 Ways And Precautions

Learn ways to remove nail glue effectively from delicate areas of your skin.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Priya Gill, MBBCH, MRCP
Written by Arshiya Syeda, BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Dip
Edited by Ramona Sinha, MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach
Fact-checked by Monomita Chakraborty, MA (Journalism & Mass Communication), Certified Skin Care Coach  • 

Nail glues are used to apply fake nails. They are fast-drying and considered safe. However, when they come in contact with natural fibers like cotton, they may cause a chemical reaction leading to severe burn injuries (1), (2), (3). Wondering how to get nail glue off skin? We can help. This article offers nail glue removal tips and tricks, and also correct and safe ways of getting them off your skin. Keep reading to know more.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Nail glues can also cause localized dermatitisi  XA term broadly referring to any skin condition involving inflammation, itching, redness and dry skin. , allergic onycholysisi  XA condition in which a nail separates from the nail bed due to an allergic reaction from contact with an allergen. , and paronychiai  XA bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the tissue at the base of a nail. Can be treated with topical antibiotics. (4).

How To Remove Nail Glue From The Skin

How to get nail glue off skin
Image: IStock

Dr. Archit Agarwal, a dermatologist, says, “Nail glue is a powerful adhesive designed for attaching artificial nails to natural nails. It typically contains cyanoacrylate, a fast-acting compound that forms a strong bond when exposed to moisture. While effective for its purpose, removing nail glue from the skin can be challenging due to its adhesive properties.”

You can remove nail glue with nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, baking soda, petroleum jelly, and other convenient home remedies. While it is easy to remove super glue from the hands and areas with harder skin, for delicate areas like the lips or eyelids, seek expert medical advice. Check out the simple ways to get nail glue off your skin.

1. Soap And Water

If you are curious about how to remove nail glue from skin, then try this basic soap and water method. It will clear off the glue from your skin to resolve the issue..

You Will Need

  • Mild soap
  • Lukewarm water
  • Moisturizer

Directions

  1. Mix the soap with warm water.
  2. Soak your hands in this solution for 15 minutes or as long as it takes the glue to come off.
  3. Apply the moisturizer to prevent dryness and soothe your skin.

This is the most basic DIY solution that works in cleaning away most residues. Just ensure the water is not so hot that it burns your skin.

2. Acetone-Based Nail Polish Remover

A nail polish remover can be a great choice if you are wondering about how to remove nail glue. It helps dissolve the glue easily.

You Will Need

  • A cotton swab or cotton ball
  • Acetone-based nail polish remover

Instructions

  1. Apply the nail polish remover to the affected region with the cotton ball.
  2. Wait a few minutes for the product to sink in and dissolve the nail glue.
  3. Apply petroleum jelly to keep the skin moisturized.

Note: It is essential to protect your nails or skin while using acetone. You can apply cuticle creams and olive oil coupled with the intake of biotin supplements. Also, use an acetone nail polish remover in areas without any skin damage, as it can cause dryness and irritate the skin.

3. Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly can get nail glue off the skin
Image: Shutterstock

Petroleum jelly is the one of the easiest methods if you want to know how to get nail glue off your fingers. It helps remove dried glue spots easily from the skin. This moisturizer can also treat dry, rough, scaly, and itchy skin, and mild irritations.

You Will Need

  • Water
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Soap

Directions

  1. Massage the affected site with petroleum jelly in a circular motion for a few minutes.
  2. Wait for the glue to soften and separate from the skin without pulling.
  3. Wash the region with soap and water.
  4. Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to lock the skin moisture.

Dr. Harikiran Chekuri, a plastic surgeon, says, “Vaseline, a petroleum jelly product, may offer some assistance in removing nail glue from the skin. The oily substance can potentially help to break down the adhesive properties of the glue, easing its removal.”

4. Hand Lotions

Hand Lotions can get nail glue off the skin
Image: Shutterstock

If you are wondering how to get nail glue off your skin, try hand lotion. The hand lotion softens the dried glue on your skin and you can remove the residue by washing your hands with soap and water.

You Will Need

  • Hand lotion
  • Soap
  • Water

Directions

  1. Apply the hand lotion to the affected region and massage in circular motions.
  2. Repeat this until the adhesive starts to peel away.
  3. Wash your hands with soap and water to remove any residual glue.
  4. Apply the hand cream to seal in moisture and rejuvenate your skin. And this is how to get nail glue off your skin.

5. Salt

You Will Need

  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • Water

Directions

  1. Mix the salt and water to form a thick paste.
  2. Massage your skin with this paste for 30-60 seconds.
  3. Continue to rub the salt until the glue breaks down. The salt will dissolve quickly, removing any traces of glue along the way.

Note: Avoid this method if you have sensitive skin, as salt may scrape and irritate it and make it dry.

6. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can get nail glue off the skin
Image: IStock

You Will Need

  • Alcohol
  • Cotton balls
  • Toothbrush
  • Soap water

Instructions

  1. Soak the affected region in warm soapy water to soften the skin.
  2. Cover your nails with cotton balls and secure them with strong tape.
  3. Soak your fingertips in a bowl of rubbing alcohol for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Pull the tape gently from your fingers and twist it around the nails to loosen it.
  5. Dip the toothbrush in alcohol and brush any residual glue off your fingertips.
  6. Wash the area with soapy water.

Dr. Harikiran adds, “Another option for removing nail glue from the skin is hand sanitizer. The high alcohol content in hand sanitizer can help dissolve the glue, making it easier to remove.”

7. Pumice Stone

You Will Need

  • Pumice stone
  • Soapy water

Directions

  1. Soak the area in warm soapy water.
  2. Immerse the pumice stone in warm water and rub the area in a circular motion until the super glue is gone.

You can also use a nail filer instead of a pumice stone. Zay Zay, a YouTuber, shows how her little sister Zoey dipped a nail filer in water and used it to scrub off nail glue residue from her skin. She says, “Depending on the amount of nail glue you have, you’ll have to scrub and I have a whole lot on my finger (i).” She also adds that sometimes while scrubbing the glue off, the rest of the glue can be peeled off easily.

8. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice for removing nail glue
Image: Shutterstock

Another easy remedy to remove nail glue is lemon juice. The citric acid in the juice helps soften and effectively remove the glue. However, the skin may feel dry afterward. Hence, ensure you apply a moisturizer to the affected area.

You Will Need

  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • A bowl
  • Water, as needed
  • Toothbrush
  • Cotton swab
  • Towel
  • Soap

Directions

  1. Mix lemon juice and water in a bowl.
  2. Soak the affected area in the mixture for 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Use a toothbrush or cotton swab to gently rub extra lemon juice on the area.
  4. Use a towel to scrub the skin and soften the glue.
  5. Once you remove the glue, wash your hands with soap and tepid water.

protip_icon Quick Tip
The priority in case of accidental nail glue spillage is to avoid burns. Remove any clothing. Use the soap-water remedy before the others to soothe and clean the area.

You need to be extra careful while handling super glue. Follow these precautionary measures to remove nail glue from your skin safely.

Precautions And Warnings

While all these tips can prove to be useful, it is better to practice some safety precautions the next time to use nail glue or other types of super glues.

Woman peeling skin to remove nail glue
Image: IStock
  • Do not tear the skin off with force or pick at it, as this might harm the skin and develop a painful blister.
  • Never use sharp objects, such as razors, nail filers, blades, or knives, to remove nail glue.
  • Peeling off the skin is not recommended if you have a lot of glue on your hands or sensitive skin.
  • Touching wet glue will spread it even further. Hence, it is best to wait until the adhesive has dried before removing it. Grab the edges of the dry glue with your fingertips or tweezers and pull it away carefully.
  • If you cannot get a hold of the edge, rub it with a nail file or buffer to loosen it up.

Dr. Archit says, “Be patient. Removing nail glue requires patience and gentle handling. If the glue is on a large area of skin, consider seeking professional help from a dermatologist or cosmetologist. Always test any removal method on a small, inconspicuous area of skin first to ensure it doesn’t irritate. Moisturize your skin after removing the glue to soothe any dryness or discomfort.”

If your skin is broken, chapped, or inflamed, do not use any strong cleansers or abrasives to remove super glue. Instead, you can follow these steps:

  1. Use a mild soap and water to wash the affected skin.
  2. Apply petroleum jelly to the wound.
  3. Cover with a bandage and wait for it to recover.
  4. If there is redness, discomfort, or swelling, consult a doctor.

Infographic: Top 5 Methods To Get Nail Glue Off The Skin

Fake nails are an easy and classy way to make your hands look beautiful. But the glue used to stick them can become a real nuisance. It is fast-drying and can be tough to remove from the skin. Don’t worry. We got you the fastest and sure-shot ways to deal with this tricky situation. Scroll down and check the infographic.

top 5 methods to get nail glue off the skin (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

If you mistakenly put too much glue on your nail while applying artificial nails, don’t be startled. Instead, follow the procedures discussed in the article. These remedies can rescue you from such emergencies. Also, be careful while applying artificial nails to avoid accidents. However, if you have spilled a lot of nail glue, you should visit a doctor. Get medical attention if you experience pain or a burning sensation while removing glue from your skin or if you get glue in your mouth or eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is nail glue toxic after drying?

Dr. Harikiran says, “Once nail glue has dried, it is generally considered to be safe for use. However, it is important to follow safety precautions and avoid ingesting the glue or letting it come into contact with the eyes.”

Will vinegar remove nail glue?

Yes, vinegar may soften and remove nail glue due to its acidic nature. Mix white vinegar with water and soak a cotton ball in it. Dab the cotton ball on the glue till it starts to soften.

How long does glue stay on skin?

In general, nail glue can stay on the skin for several hours to a few days. The skin’s natural oils and sweat cause the adhesive to gradually loosen over time.

Is all nail glue waterproof?

Most nail glues are designed to dry quickly and considered waterproof, which means they can withstand exposure to water without losing their adhesive properties. Nevertheless, check the label to be sure.

Key Takeaways

  • Nail glues may cause severe burn injuries when they come in contact with natural fibers.
  • However, you can remove nail glue from the skin with soap and water, acetone-based nail polish remover, or petroleum jelly.
  • Never use sharp objects to remove nail glue from the skin. Also, peeling off the skin is not recommended.

Learn how to easily remove dried-up nail glue with simple beauty tips! Get rid of that pesky glue and keep your nails looking beautiful by checking out the video below.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Burns and beauty
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3680280/
  2. Full thickness burns caused by cyanoacrylate nail glue: A case series
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26777605/
  3. Cyanoacrylate Nail Glue and the Pajama Catalyst
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32803269/
  4. Pediatric burns secondary to nail adhesives: a case series
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5011344/
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