Nail polish remover is made with acetone or ethyl acetate. Acetone is harsher on nails and skin, but it can be used to remove artificial nails, which are usually made with acrylic, and is the only polish remover that can remove gel nail polish. Ethyl acetate is usually combined with isopropyl alcohol in non-acetone nail polish remover.
Acetone, the primary ingredient in most nail polish removers, is produced from propylene gas by the cumene chemical process. Acetone is a very useful solvent for dealing with most plastics and synthetic fibers and, in addition to its usage as nail polish remover, can be used for thinning polyester resin, cleaning tools, dissolving superglue and two-part epoxies, and many other purposes. Because acetone is so useful for such a variety of purposes, several million tons of it are created annually, all over the world.
Acetone is made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, but it is not an element that can be created in the home. It can be produced in the human body through a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. This biological acetone production is called ketosis, which can be dangerous at high concentrations, such as when it is caused by diabetes and alcoholism. These conditions produce the more dangerous and extreme form of ketosis, known as ketoacidosis.