Is Acrylic Paint Safe For Skin? (No! How To Remove It)

Acrylic paint is a popular option for professional makeup artist working on a range of projects - but what about art that involves face paints and body acrylic painting?

Is acrylic paint safe for skin? The answer is a very firm no - acrylic paints should not be used on humans. 

Fortunately, we have created this guide to help you understand the risks to put put acrylic paint on skin and the best alternatives for choosing body paint for your next project - read on for everything you need to know!  

Acrylic Paint Covered Hands

There is a clear consensus around this - using acrylic paints on skin is a bad idea to put acrylic paint on skin and can result in serious reactions. 

Apply acrylic paint on skin can have toxic ingredients - there are a number of harsh chemicals and toxic chemicals included that can be hazardous to human health.  

The ingredients in the paint are created with an acrylic polymer emulsion that contains a combination of color pigments. 

When acrylic paint is on the skin, it will dry quickly. As acrylic paint dries speedily and will block the skin's pores and cause irritation and dryness. 

The skin of the face is particularly delicate, and placing acrylic paint on your face can cause serious irritation - you are likely to end up with uncomfortable, dry red patches after face paint. 

Many types of non toxic acrylic paints contain formaldehyde - this is a substance that is used to help the paint last for longer without hardening or discoloration, but it can be dangerous for humans use it as face paint kits.

Some pigments can also cause serious issues, and these will be clearly labeled on the paint. 

Fumes can be an irritant to the throat, eyes, and nose, as well as headaches, nausea, and dizziness if you put acrylic paint on your face and breathing them in regularly and in close proximity. 

Acrylic paints on baby’s skin should be avoided - their skin is delicate and sensitive, and adverse allergic reaction is even more likely. 

Remember not to allow your children to use this paint as finger paint of face paint, either. These type of paints should also not be used by younger children as finger paints as the paints could contain harmful chemicals.

Common Dangerous Ingredients Found in Acrylic Paints


When lead is present in acrylic paints, it can be dangerous if the paint is not handled properly. For example, lead-containing acrylic paints can release lead particles into the air as they dry, and these particles can be inhaled by anyone in the vicinity. In addition, lead can also be absorbed through the skin.


The main concern with cobalt in paint is its potential toxicity. In acrylic paint, cobalt is typically present in the form of cobalt driers, which are added to the paint to speed up the drying process. These driers can release cobalt particles into the air when the paint is applied or when it dries.

Other common nasties include Cadmium, Manganese, Chromium

Is it Safe to Use Acrylic Paint on Your Lips?

Acrylic paint is a popular medium for creating art. It is a water-soluble paint that dries quickly, and its versatility has made it a favorite among artists. However, when it comes to using acrylic paint on your lips, there are some concerns about its safety.

Acrylic paint is not formulated for use on the skin, and its ingredients can be toxic if ingested. The color contains toxic pigment, binders, and chemicals not intended for use on the lips. While applying a small amount of acrylic paint on your lips for a photo shoot or costume party may seem harmless, it can lead to health risks.

One of the main concerns with using acrylic paint on your lips is the risk of ingesting the paint. When you apply paint to your lips, you are likely to ingest some of it while eating, drinking, or even licking your lips. Some of the ingredients in acrylic paint can cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, or even poisoning when ingested.

Additionally, acrylic paint is not designed to adhere to the skin for long periods. It can crack, peel, or flake off, leaving your lips dry, chapped, and potentially irritated. The paint can also clog your pores and cause breakouts if left on your skin for too long.

Moreover, acrylic paint contains chemicals that can be harmful if absorbed through the skin. These chemicals include formaldehyde, ammonia, and ethylene glycol. Exposure to these harmful chemicals can cause skin irritation, respiratory issues, and even skin cancer in some cases.

In contrast, there are safe and suitable alternatives for using on your lips. For example, there are specialized lip paints available on the market that are specifically formulated for use on the lips. These lip paints are usually made from natural or organic ingredients, such as beeswax, shea butter, and essential oils, which are safe for skin and won't cause harm if ingested.

Another option is using food-grade products, such as food coloring, that are safe for consumption and can be used to create colorful lip designs. These food-grade products are widely available, affordable, and easy to use, making them a popular choice for DIY lip art.

Can You Turn Acrylic Paint Into A Safe Face and Body Paint? (DIY) 

The best way to use acrylic paints safely is to opt for a acrylic paint non toxic type - this will be clearly labeled on the packaging. 

Non-toxic acrylic paint will help to reduce the risks associated with inhaling the paint. 

However, it does not automatically mean that it is skin safe paints to use acrylic paint on the skin - you are still likely to experience dry, uncomfortable dark skin tones or skin color if you use acrylic paint as face and body paint

If you are looking to use paint on your skin to create a stunning face painting or body art, the best option is to select acrylic paints safe that is paint specifically designed for this purpose. 

Painting Designs on Skin

These watercolor paints are typically water-based, hypoallergenic paint, and free from parabens - all of these elements increase the risk of allergic reactions when they are applied to the skin. 

Specialist body painting and face painting is also easier to remove, and this means that there will be no need to scrub harshly or use strong chemicals to remove the body and face paint - both of these can cause damage and irritation to the skin. 

To help you stay safe, healthy, and well, stick to specialist face paints suitable and traditional body paint that is designed especially for this purpose. When used safely, body paints can be a fun and creative way to express yourself.

Compile your tools Before you start, make sure you assemble all your tools. This includes best body paint, face painting kit, sponge or brush, mirror, water, towel or wet wipes, stencils, spray bottle.

How To Remove Acrylic Paint From Skin (Will It Wash Off?)

Knowing how to get acrylic paints off your skin is important - try and remove acrylic paints residue as soon as possible, as it can be trickier to clean once the paint has had a chance to dry - this is when you are more likely to experience irritation. 

  • 1
    Run the warm tap, and then hold the painted area under the slightly hot water. Use a mild soap, and try to gently rub off the paint, patting the area dry once the paint is gone. 
  • 2
    You can also use slightly hot water on the paint to loosen it, and then run baby oil or vegetable oil onto the painted area and rinse under warm water and then clean with baby wipes. This option is best for babies and those with sensitive skin. 
  • 3
    Once you have used the slightly hot water, use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol paint to rub the washable paints in a circular motion to loosen it, and then wash the area with soap and water. 
  • 4
    For more stubborn spots, loosen the washable paint with warm running water, and then dip a wash cloth or damp cloth or tissue in acetone (such as nail polish remover). Hold this on top of the paint for around 30 seconds, and rinse with soap and water. 
Washing Hands of Paint

What Paint Is Safe On Human Skin? (Best Face and Body Paints) 

As we have mentioned, there are some oil paints or oil based paints that are safe for skin, and these include: 

Water-Based Paint 

Water-based paints are well regulated, non-toxic, and easy to clean, making them safe for use with children.

They can be rubbed off very easily when you are done, and this reduces the stress that is caused to your skin when you vigorously rub at the oil paint to remove it. Water based acrylic paint also meet a number of strict guidelines and regulations for safety. 

Metallic Body Paint 

For a stylish space-age look, metallic paint is a great option. These often contain a special liquid combined with real metal powder mixed - this helps to create a really authentic look and is popular amongst "statue" street performers and makeup artist.

Some common design options with this paint include: Flowers and leaves, Animals and animal prints, Butterfly or fairy wings, Cartoon characters or Superheroes. You should use far less paint to get above designs on your body.

However, metallic body paints, commercial body paints or other body paints can be irritating to the skin thanks to the inclusion of metal powders, so they are best avoided for sensitive skin. 

Alcohol-Based Paint 

Alcohol paint is great for special effects and works best in hot, humid conditions or underwater, as this paint is waterproof paint- great if you are going to be sweating a lot. Be aware, however, that paint waterproof can come off easily when rubbed - this is great for removal, but can smudge your look. 

Latex Body Paint 

Latex is a popular choice for cosplayers, as it can be used to create realistic custom costumes. Avoid acrylic paints in extreme heat, as it can prevent the entire body from sweating, and do not use it on all skin types that is already irritated or damaged. 

You will also need to check that you do not have a latex allergy. On the plus side, latex paint leaves behind no residue, so it is easy to remove and clean. 


Henna is a traditional painting technique, and the paint comes from plant dye, appearing in a brownish-reddish shade on the skin.

This is a great option to avoid allergies and irritation and can be used on both children and adults without issue, though black henna should be avoided as this can cause allergies. Henna will fade naturally over time. 

Commercial body paint

In recent years, a number of companies have created their own safe body paint, typically free from latex and toxins - these can be very useful for full-body painting markers, or first body painting gig or for body watercolor painting with children. 


Avoid using vibrant colors markers for decorating skin - these can result in irritation. Instead, opt for these specialist body-paint markers, which are non-toxic, easy to remove, and kid-safe. 

Acrylic Paint Safety FAQs

 Is acrylic paint safe to breathe? 

It is a good idea to avoid breathing in acrylic paint - some types will have fumes that can be toxic and cause irritation, dizziness, headaches, and serious illness in the worst-case scenarios. 

What should I do if I get acrylic paint in my eye? 

If you get acrylic paint in your eye, you should immediately rinse the area with clean, hot water. Then, fill a basin with warm, clean water and submerge your eye in this as much as possible, gently pulling the eyelids to allow as much water in as possible. Pat the area dry with a clean towel. If you have any irritation or pain, see a doctor immediately. 

Is dried acrylic paint toxic? 

Some dried acrylic paint can be toxic when it is applied to the skin, and some types may also release propylene glycol as they dry - this is bad for the environment, and could cause skin irritation or damage with prolonged uv light exposure. 

Should I wear gloves when painting with acrylic paint? 

If you want to avoid the contact that you have with the paint, you can wear gloves to protect your skin. It is important to note, however, that this is not essential, as you can always wash your hands if you get a splash of paint on you - this will be perfectly safe.  

Does acrylic paint wash off skin?

Acrylic paint does wash off skin with warm water. 


Using acrylic paint can help you create stunning artworks and is generally a good material to work with.

It is important to be aware of the risks, however, and make sure that you are not using this type of paint on your face, skin, or body - this can cause skin irritation, reactions, and other paints issues, so it is best avoided.