My Friend Inhales Nail Polish Remover

Published: December 19, 2013
Dear My Friend Inhales Nail Polish Remover,
My friend inhales nail polish remover. Should I be worried about what this is doing to her?

Dear My Friend Inhales Nail Polish Remover,

When you inhale any chemical there is always the possibility of causing damage to your body. Keep in mind that any chemical that is inhaled gets into your blood. Your blood will then carry that chemical to all the organs in your body. 

Nail polish remover contains a substance called acetone. For acetone in particular, some effects that you might see right away are: damage to the mucosa (inside surface) of your mouth or nose as well as irritation to your eyes, throat, lungs or skin. It is also possible that acetone can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, a faster pulse, nausea, vomiting, passing out and even coma.  If acetone is inhaled continuously over a long period of time, more serious side effects occur, like damage to the kidneys, liver and nerves (which make up your brain). So even though inhaling acetone does not cause cancer, it causes damage to other organs that are very important to the proper functioning of your body.  

If your friend is inhaling acetone frequently, Teen Health FX strongly recommends that your friend contact his/her doctor, parent or any other trusted adult who can help him/her to stop. Inhaling acetone is just as bad as doing any other type of drug so if your friend does not reach out for help, FX recommends you speak to a trusted adult (such as a parent or school counselor) for some guidance on what to do.