How To Get Nail Glue Off The Skin – 7 Ways And Precautions

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

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Priya Gill, MBBCH, MRCP
By Arshiya Syeda

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 explains the correct method to remove nail glue from your skin. Keep reading to know more.

How To Remove Nail Glue From The Skin

You can remove nail glue with nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, and petroleum jelly. 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

You Will Need

  • Mild soap
  • Lukewarm water
  • Moisturizer


  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.

2. Acetone-Based Nail Polish Remover

You Will Need

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


  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 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


  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.

4. Hand Lotions

You Will Need

  • Hand lotion
  • Soap
  • Water


  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.

5. Salt

You Will Need

  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • Water


  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

You Will Need

  • Alcohol
  • Cotton balls
  • Toothbrush
  • Soap water


  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.

7. Pumice Stone

You Will Need

  • Pumice stone
  • Soapy water


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

Precautions And Warnings

  • 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.

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.

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

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.

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.


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Arshiya Syeda is an editor at StyleCraze. Prior to that, she was a content writer and combined her writing and... more

Dr. Priya Gill

Dr. Priya Gill is a consultant dermatologist in Klang, Malaysia. She specializes in the management of all medical and surgical... more