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Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Skin?

Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Skin?

Acrylic paints are the most popular medium when it comes to making art.

They can be used to paint beautiful sceneries on the canvas or in special effects makeup when one wants to look like a supernatural being. It’s cheap, readily available, and easy to use. Is acrylic paint safe for the skin?

Acrylic paints can cause irritation and other skin allergies. Acrylic paints contain tiny plastic resin particles and pigment that dry after coming into contact with water. In order to remove acrylic paint easily from the skin, you would have to wash or peel it off.

This could cause extreme redness, irritation, and itching as your face is the most sensitive part of your body. It Is advised to prevent acrylic paint from touching your face even if the bottle is labeled as “non-toxic.”

There are many types of acrylic paints sold in the market with different properties. Are acrylic paints toxic? Which one is safe to use?

is acrylic paint safe for skin

Can you put Matte Acrylic Paint on your face?

Let’s talk about what makes Matte acrylic paint different from everyday acrylic paint. It is conventionally used to paint surfaces such as walls or ceilings. 

Matte Acrylics give a smooth and subtle finish as they absorb light. Essentially, they are used to give flat finishes with little to no shine. 

These paints should not be used on the face as they could contain toxic chemicals like lead or ammonia. These paints are not safe and would damage the skin’s surface layer causing rashes or irritation.

Acrylic paints turn stiff when dry and start blocking your pores. 

Some of it may be hard to remove with just water, leading you to peel it off and rip out tiny hairs. 

This not only gives the skin trauma but can cause acne or rash breakouts.

Can you put non-toxic acrylic paint on your face?

It is advised to steer clear from acrylic paints despite the “non-toxic” label. There are many brands that make acrylic paints that are safe to use even on children’s skin. 

Many craft companies have designed and formulated paints that are absolutely safe to use. These do not contain harmful chemicals.

Can you put satin acrylic paint on your face?

Satin acrylic paints are different from Matte and other acrylics.

The finish of Satin paints is glossy and silky as they reflect light rather than absorb. 

They are mostly used in bathrooms, kitchens, or children’s rooms as they can be cleaned fairly easily. 

Many home decorators use Satin paints on trims and moldings to give a luxurious finish. 

Although it is a water-based paint, it can contain traces of ammonia and formaldehyde that can cause respiratory and digestive problems if ingested by accident. 

This makes them unsafe to be used on the face.

There are many more options that are suitable for face painting that are non-toxic and specifically designed to be used on such a sensitive area.

Make sure to double-check before purchasing any paint intended to be used on the face. 

Can you put acrylic paint on your lips?

Acrylic paints should not be used on any part of the face, let alone lips. 

The paint dries out as soon as it is applied which would take away all the moisture from your lips. 

This could result in cracks, dryness, and chapped lips. 

As acrylic paints contain harmful chemicals, they could be easily ingested by a mindless lick of the lip.

Can you put acrylic paint on your body?

The reaction from acrylic paints depends on the age, gender, and use it.

Many children will break out in rashes whereas adults are seemingly unharmed. 

The duration of the paint and skin contact also affects the reaction caused. 

There are many acrylic paints that are genuinely non-toxic but it can be hard to differentiate from brand to brand.

Getting acrylic paint on your hands while painting is harmless as long as one washes it off within an hour. 

You do not want the paint to be absorbed into your skin. 

Acrylics are water-based and are in contrast much safer to use than solvent-based oil paints but does this mean that they are approved to be used on skin?

The answer is no. Skin cancer is one of the four most common types of cancers and is most likely to be caused by chemicals coming into contact with the body. 

Acrylic paints contain chemicals that may not give an immediate reaction but have long and cumulative effects. When acrylic paints dry, they become stiff and hard on the skin. 

This leaves no room for the skin to breathe. Many researchers have linked acrylic paints to cause dryness so severe that it leads to skin conditions like eczema. 

Each individual reacts to paint differently. If you have sensitive skin, it is recommended that you wash off acrylic paint within 30 minutes of contact. 

Can you put acrylic paint on your hands?

Acrylic paint is very much likely to get on your hands if you are painting a serene landscape or the walls to your new house. 

As they are water-based, they can be removed simply by washing off in the sink or shower.

It is important to keep check of any residue left on your hands because if forgotten, could be accidentally ingested. 

Make sure to immediately wash off acrylic paint as even little contact can cause harm over a course of time. 

Be especially sure to keep acrylic paints away from children and only let them use them under strict supervision. 

What acrylic paint is safe for skin?

No, they are not safe to be used on the skin. 

Acrylic paints come in various shades and hues.

Their availability and ease of use make them so much more accessible. 

This does not mean they can be used anywhere on the skin.

No acrylic paint is approved to be used on your body or face. 

There are many other alternatives that can give the same vibrant effect. 

Water based painting kits 

These are strictly regulated and put through tests to ensure their safety.

They can be used on the skin without causing any short- or long-term effects. 

They contain little to no harmful chemicals as they release minimal amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Keep in mind that they do tend to dry fast and crack, so they are not ideal for face or body painting. 

Metallic body paints

If you’re looking to use paint for an eccentric costume or editorial shoot, Metallic body paints are your best option. 

They give off a shiny and metal-like finish when applied and are much more durable than water-based paints. 

As they are made using real metallic pigments and powder, it is advised to only use them for a short amount of time. 

Long exposure to metallic paints can result in contact dermatitis or inflammation. 

Latex body paints

If you want to use paint for costume design, cosplay, or transformative make-up, then Latex body paints are the safest choice. 

Many special effects artists use Liquid Latex to create surreal transformations, fake injuries, and more. 

Make sure to use it in a cool and dry environment as Latex absorbs heat and could potentially cause a heat stroke, redness, and irritation. 

Unlike other paints, Latex will not leave any traces behind making it easily removable. 

Alcohol-based paints are commonly used when opting for special effect makeup or face art. Unlike Latex, it does not heat up and can be used for sunny locations. 

The paint is also ideal for body painting as it does not dry and crack, although sweating may start to get rid of some of it.

You can easily remove these paints with rubbing alcohol.

Be wary as rubbing alcohol can be extremely drying and cause irritation if not taken care of afterward.

Make sure to be hydrated and use a good moisturizer after removal. 

Safe Acrylic Paint Alternative

Another great alternative to acrylic paints is Henna. Henna is used in many Asian and African traditional and cultural events such as weddings, religious holidays, and more. 

The paint is plant-based and acts as a dye that lasts up to one or two weeks by staining the skin in different colors. Henna is typically brown or dark red but can also be found in colors such as blue, green, pink, and purple. 

It is safe to use on the skin and has no harmful effects. Henna fades over time by itself or can be removed with frequent washing or exfoliation. 


Acrylic paints should be avoided at all costs as there are many other existing alternatives that are safer to use. 

Acrylic paints contain chemicals that are not regulated and as each person’s skin reacts differently, can do a lot of harm even in a short period of time. 

It is vital to do a patch test on your skin before applying any paint to ensure your skin doesn’t have a bad reaction.