Is gel nail polish flammable?

In this blog post, we will answer the question, “is gel nail polish flammable?”. 

We will also discuss some flammable chemicals in the common gel nail polish, comparisons between gel nail polish and traditional nail polish, and the flammability of nail polish when dry.

Is gel nail polish flammable?

Yes. Gel nail polish is flammable. Gel nail polish has a flash point of 49°C in closed cups. Thus, gel nail polish is flammable, according to OSHA.

What makes gel nail polish flammable?

Gel nail polish might contain flammable chemicals such as:

Butyl acetate

Butyl Acetate is a flammable, colorless liquid with a distinct smell. Butyl acetate has a flash point of 22oC. 

Butyl Acetate is used in manicure preparations because it provides the body and allows it to dry more slowly, allowing it to adhere to the nail better and form an even coating.

While it’s not entirely soluble in water or ethanol, it is somewhat more miscible with the latter. It is also miscible with hydrocarbons. 

If you’re making cosmetics, most of the Butyl Acetate will come from n-Butyl acetate, with only a bit proportions of isobutyl alcohol and n-butyl alcohol. There is a limit of 10% for the total impurity.

Butyl acetate is the ester of butyl alcohol & acetic acid, according to the chemical formula. Formula: C6H1206; molecular weight: 116.16; The structure of Butyl Acetate is:

Ethyl acetate

Ethyl Acetate is a transparent, volatile, flammable liquid that smells and tastes like fruit when diluted. The flash point of ethyl acetate is 7.2oC. Ethyl acetate is a solvent used to manufacture gel nail polish that helps the lacquer spread and cure fast.

It breaks down slowly when wet, forming an acetic acid that induces an acid reaction. It has a water absorption capacity of 3.3% w/w. When it comes to solubility, ethanol acetate is soluble with water, alcohols, ether, chloroform, and chloroform.

Ethyl acetate is an ester of ethyl alcohol & acetic acid, according to the definition. Its molecular weight is 88.10, and its formula is C4H802. The chemical structure of ethyl acetate is as follows:

Ethyl Acetate is also known as ethyl ethanoate, vinegar naphtha, ethyl acetic ester, acetoxyethane, ethyl ester, acetidin, and acetic ether.

Isopropyl alcohol

As the name suggests, Isopropyl Alcohol (C3H8O) smells like rubbing alcohol, is colorless, and is highly flammable. It has a flash point of 53°F. The weight of each gallon is roughly 6.5 pounds.

A wide range of cosmetics, skin and hair care products as well as medicines, perfume, lacquer formulation, dye solutions, anti-freeze solutions, soap, and window cleaners may be made using this ingredient. 

As rubbing alcohol, it is produced in a 70% aqueous solution.

In the gel nail polish preparation, isopropyl alcohol is used as a solvent or diluent to adjust the viscosity of the polish. The structure of isopropyl alcohol is:

What is the difference between gel nail polish and regular nail polish?

Gel polishes are stronger than conventional lacquers and can withstand everyday wear and tear without cracking, unlike traditional lacquers.

High shine and longevity have made gel polish a modern beauty staple. With a gel manicure, you don’t have to worry about your polish becoming chipped as soon as you dig through your bag, even for several weeks.

Regular and gel nail polish have somewhat different chemical compositions, but the main distinction is that only UV or LED light is required to dry gel polish instead of ambient air.

Using UV light, gel polish coatings solidify, making them more robust and long-lasting. To remove gel polish from your nails, you must soak them in acetone, while traditional polishes may simply be wiped away with nail polish remover.

Chemically, UV gels are based on UV curing acrylates. For the first time, hard coatings produced from UV light polymerization of acrylate have been employed to create artificial nails. 

“Gels” became the generic term for these homogeneous mixes because of their rheology.

Softer soak-off gels were also created, which applied and looked like solvent-based polishes but had a more fabulous sheen, lasted longer, and were more resistant to chipping and cracking. 

High-performance UV nail solutions now on the market boast 14+ days of shine and durability, whereas their lacquer rivals begin flaking and peeling within two days of application.

Color and top coat are two of the three main components of UV nail gel systems. While the base coat acts as a glue to hold the other layers in place, the color coat adds vibrant shades. Then the top coat adds shine and resistance to chipping.

Is gel polish safer than regular nail polish?

Traditional solvent-type coatings, such as nitrocellulose and formaldehyde resins dissolved in toluene, acetone, and plasticized with phthalates, have been replaced by acrylic polymer solutions in gel polish formula. 

Because they emit no toxic gases, won’t damage household stuff, and some of them are even non-flammable, the new formula is better for the environment.

Is gel nail polish still flammable when dry?

No. gel nail polish is not flammable when dry. The flammable chemicals such as ethyl acetate, butyl acetate, isopropyl alcohol, or acetone are volatile. Thus, they evaporate as the polish dries out on your nails.


In this blog post, we have discussed that gel nail polish is flammable. It has a low flash point and flammable chemicals such as butyl acetate, ethyl acetate, and isopropyl acetate. However, gel nail polish is no longer flammable when dry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Is gel nail polish flammable?

How to apply and store gel nail polish safely?

Please keep these cautions in mind when applying and storing gel nail polish to help avoid an accident:

  • The product should be kept at least a few feet away from open flame.
  • If you’re applying gel polish, put the cigarette off.
  • Use a well-ventilated environment when applying gel nail polish.
  • If you have little children at home, keep the product out of their reach and in a secure location.
  • Take extra care when using a blow dryer, straightener, or curling iron with an open bottle of gel nail paint. The heat might ignite nail paint.

How to extinguish fire caused by gel nail polish?

  • Water spray, alcohol-resistant foam, carbon dioxide, or powder can be used to put out the fire.
  • Water dispersed at high pressure cannot be used to put out the flame.
  • Gel nail polish has the potential to release combustible fumes, which, when mixed with air, might result in an explosion.
  • Polymerization can occur due to high heat and fire, which can cause the packaging to burst.
  • Nitrogen oxides and carbon oxides can occur in the event of a fire, which can be caustic and toxic.
  • Other items at the conflagration site need to be safeguarded.
  • Water should be used to cool down containers that have been exposed to a fire.
  • In a fire, use a respirator mask to protect yourself.
  • Ensure that you are adequately protected.


JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF TOXICOLOGY Volume 8, Number 4,1989 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., Publishers 

Schlossman, M. L. (2000). Manicure preparations. Poucher’s Perfumes, Cosmetics, and Soaps, 325–343. doi:10.1007/978-94-017-2734-1_11

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