Acrylic paints are widely used on canvas and other arts and crafts projects but should never be used on the skin. It is true that acrylic paint can be easily wiped off an individual’s skin using soap and water, but this shouldn’t make you consider applying it to your skin.

  • Quick Answer:

    Although acrylic paint is not harmful if it is non-toxic, you should avoid using craft paints on your skin as they are not safe to use on the skin and will only cause skin irritations and allergic reactions.

In this article, you will learn more about acrylic paints and their safety on the skin.

Can Acrylic Paint Be Used On Skin

Acrylic Paint Ingredients

Acrylic paint contains a combination of color pigments within an acrylic polymer emulsion. An acrylic polymer, a plastic substance, hardens when it dries.

The acrylic paint remains water-soluble while still damp. However, more ingredients are used to make acrylic paints, such as initiators, buffers, defoamers, preservatives, surfactants, thickeners, and other additives.

Some acrylic paints contain ammonia, lead, and sometimes formaldehyde. The manufacturing processes of different acrylic paints differ.

Thus, it is necessary to look for lead-free paints. The various ingredients in acrylic paint and the techniques in manufacturing prove why you should never apply this paint type to your skin.

Pigments, a significant ingredient in acrylic paint, give this paint its color. It is also present in other paint types. Most of these pigments are harmless; however, some can be toxic.

Thus, it is necessary to look out for these. In several cases, if the pigment has a name similar to heavy metal such as lead, it is most likely toxic.

Can I Use Acrylic Paint on My Skin

Can I Use Acrylic Paint on My Skin

It is not ideal for applying acrylic paint to your skin. The toxicity level of paint differs based on age, gender, and how one uses the paint. It doesn’t matter if the paint is toxic or non-toxic.

The important thing is not to get either of both on your skin. If you get some paint on your skin while painting, wash it off immediately. It would be best not to allow the paint to absorb your skin.

Some people consider acrylic paint a safe product, and this is because of its chemical makeup as it is easy to wash off with water and soap while it is still wet.

However, once acrylic gets dried, you might find it difficult to wash it off. This is where peeling off comes in. This method, however, may result in skin trauma.

Is It Safe to Use Acrylic Paint on Skin?

Although acrylic paint is not safe to use on the skin, it still depends on the nature of every individual’s skin, as it might not be unsafe for some.

Kids and people with sensitive skin should never have this paint on their skin or come in contact with it.

A strong reason why acrylic paint should not be used on the skin is that they do not contain pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, therefore, are not safe for the skin.

There are some paints produced for sin application. However, it would help if you didn’t also leave such paints on the skin for too long. Instead, try to wash them off immediately.

Is It Safe to Use Acrylic Paint on The Face?

Is It Safe to Use Acrylic Paint on The Face

Like its hazard to the skin, you should never use acrylic paint on your face. The face is a sensitive part of the human body.

Despite its dangers to the skin, some still use it on their faces and feel safe when they see no immediate reactions. Nevertheless, it is not advisable to do so as such individuals only risk their health.

Despite its hazards to the skin and face, acrylic paints are now applied on faces as face paints but only with moisturizers.

Nevertheless, it is still better to purchase non-toxic face paint instead. Non-toxic face paint is safer and also easier to remove. Asides from their safety hazards, acrylic paints can also cause skin irritation and can form cracks.

Whenever you get acrylic paint on your hands or any other part of your body, it is best to wash them off immediately.

Children younger than three shouldn’t use this paint, and for older kids, it is best to supervise them in the process. Whenever you want to paint with acrylic paint, ensure to put on gloves.

Qualities That Make Acrylic Paint a Good Choice for Artists

Acrylic paints possess some qualities that make them a good choice for artists, and some of these qualities include:

  • Durability/versatility
  • Water-solubility
  • Fast drying time

Hazards of Having Acrylic Paint on the Skin

Certain ingredients in acrylic paints make them unsafe to use on the skin. Some of the reasons why acrylic paint is dangerous to use on the skin include:

  • They contain toxic ingredients
  • They dry hard
  • They can crack
  • Once they dry, they are difficult to remove

How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Skin

You can easily remove water-based paints with water, whether the paint is still wet or dry. It is easy to remove acrylic paint from the skin as long as it is damp and not dry, but once it becomes stiff, it becomes more difficult to remove. They can irritate the skin and also block pores. However, acrylic paint dries quickly, so you must wash it off immediately.

To remove acrylic paint from your skin;

  • Scrape the paint off lightly as you wash, and afterward, rinse the areas thoroughly. In situations whereby the paint has dried up, and soap with water is not adequate, you can try using the following products:
nail scrubbaby oil
olive oilother vegetable oil
  • You can also try to peel it off but note that the hairs on your skin would get stuck in the paint, thus, making that method quite painful.
  • You can also consider using other products like hand sanitizer, Vaseline, rubbing alcohol, and petroleum jelly. Note, however, that the best way to save yourself from the dangers of acrylic paint on your skin is to take preventive measures, including gloves, while working with acrylic paints.

What Paint Types Are Safe for the Skin?

Several paint types are suitable for the skin and some of which include:

1) Water-Based Paint

This paint type is the safest for the body and face. Most water-based paints are well-regulated and also follow strict guidelines. They emit less volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, they crack and rub off easily, thus, making them less suitable for body painting.

2) Alcohol-Based Paint

This paint type is waterproof and excellent for hot, sunny locations. Even if you sweat after applying it, it won’t crack. However, it may rub off in the process. The disadvantage of alcohol-based paint is that they do not come off quickly, so you will need rubbing alcohol to remove them, which can be toxic.

3) Commercial Body Paint

Some companies produce non-toxic body paint in containers and spray bottles that include some of the safest body paints today, and this is because they do not contain latex. You can try different types to confirm which type(s) work well for your skin.

4) Metallic Body Paint

This paint type gives a shiny, metallic look. However, it would be best to use it cautiously as it contains natural metal powder mixed with the paint. Thus, they can cause irritation and contact dermatitis. Unless it is necessary to use it, it’s best to avoid having contact with it.

5) Latex Body Paint

Latex body paint is ordinary among cosplayers and costume designers. Unlike other body paints, latex does not leave residue behind. However, ensure to avoid heat stroke or damage to your skin, ensure you don’t have a latex allergy before using it, and never use it in extreme heat.

6) Henna

Henna is a traditional body paint widely used in Asia and Africa. This paint comes from plant dye and gives the skin a red or brown shade. It is safe for adults and children and has no side effects. This paint is temporary and fades over time naturally; however, you can remove it from your skin faster by exfoliating.

Types of Henna

Neutral Henna

Neutral henna is not used for face painting, nor should it be applied to the skin. This is because of its neutral color. It is not henna powder; instead, it is the powder of the plant Senna italics, otherwise referred to as Caddia obovate or closely related Cassia and Senna species.

Black Henna

This henna powder is obtained from indigo and may contain unlisted chemicals and dyes such as paraphenylenediamine, which quickly gives a black stain; however, it can cause severe allergic reactions and indefinite scars if you leave it on for more than 2 – 3 days.

Black henna originated from plant-based hair dyes in the West in the late 19th century. Slightly fermented, dried indigo was called black henna as someone could use it in combination with henna to dye hair black, which increased the belief that black henna existed and could dye skin black. Also, pictures of indigenous people with black body art made people believe there is genuinely black henna.

Natural Henna

It gives a rich red-brown stain that darkens days after its initial application and can last for several weeks. Another name for this type of henna is “red henna.” Most people call it red henna to differentiate it from products sold as “neutral henna” or “black henna,” which may not contain henna. Products, as such, are produced from other dyes or plants.

People believe there is white henna that doesn’t exist. White henna is not real but an adhesive body paint that looks similar to actual henna and may also feel like it. White henna is produced from adhesive body paint and lasts only 2 – 3 days. This explains why it is an all-time favorite for special events, festivals, and photoshoots.

You can find white henna in cones and stencil forms. Also, this product is water-resistant and latex-free, so you can easily use it all day long. However, you can if you need to remove it the same day you apply it.

7) Body Painting Markers

As it sounds, body painting markers are made with body painting in mind. These markers are safe for both adults and kids. Before using any body painting marker, check the label, as some brands are unsuitable for some body parts.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Body/Face Paint

Factors to Consider When Choosing BodyFace Paint

Before choosing any body paint, it would be best if you considered the following factors:

  • Hypoallergenic

Everyone has different skin; thus, it is best to consider hypoallergenic products, as they can work on all skin types, including sensitive ones.

  • Waterproof

This is another factor you must consider before purchasing or using any body paint. Waterproof paint will remain on the skin even through sweat and tears. You can consider this factor more if you organize events or parties that will take a while to end.

  • Opacity

Opacity is a factor to consider before choosing any body paint. Sadly, most beginners forget this factor and fail to consider it when selecting a body paint. It would be best if you go for a paint type with high opacity if you want the colors the pop.

  • Washability

Regardless of whether the paint is waterproof or not, it should not be difficult to remove, so you need to consider whether it is waterproof before using it.

What You Should Do If You Swallow Acrylic Paint

It is usual for accidents to happen, and as long as the quantity of paint swallowed is very little, it shouldn’t be a significant issue. If you, by mistake, swallow acrylic paint, even if it’s a tiny amount, all you need to do is:

  • First, wash your hands to remove the paint and drink lots of water
  • Ensure to rinse your mouth thoroughly and gargle with some salt water
  • Brush your teeth and mouth using a toothbrush and toothpaste to help remove the paint

Note: If you have ingested a more considerable amount of paint, it would be best to contact a doctor or call up poison control.


To prevent skin irritation, skin damage, rashes, allergic reactions, and other health issues, it is best to avoid using acrylic paint as this product is unsafe to use on the skin. Also, if you use any paint type for your body or face, ensure the paint is designed for the skin. The safest body paint types are commercial body paints and markers.

In addition to this, always double-check and ensure the paint is safe to use before applying it on your skin or a client’s skin; how is this done? Kindly check the following paragraph to see how to go about it.

To double-check if the paint is safe to use on the skin, apply the paint to a small area on your skin. Afterward, exercise patience and wait a few minutes to see if it will irritate you. If it doesn’t irritate your skin, apply it on a large surface area and wait a few minutes to confirm its safety. This is the best way to know if the paint is safe.


Does acrylic paint stain the skin?

Yes, it does. Acrylic paint coats evenly, and it also dries fast. However, it can leave a stain on your skin and can also be challenging to get off your skin. Luckily, skin is an oily and non-permeable layer, which means acrylic paint can’t be easily set up on its surface.

Does acrylic paint wash off?

Of course, it does. You can wash acrylic paint off your hands or clothes more efficiently while wet. If it gets dried, it might be a hassle to get it off, but still possible to remove it. To remove /wash off acrylic paint, you can use several different treatments/methods, and the most effective methods include using isopropyl alcohol, dishwashing soap, or a nail polish remover that contains acetone.

What can I use as face paint and make my face paint?

You can use cornstarch and shortening as face paint. The mixture of these two will yield a homemade white face paint excellent for clown faces. In addition, you can color the mix with washable paint or food coloring.
To create your face paint, you will need a few household ingredients. You can start by gathering all your materials and spreading a rug/rag down to avoid stains when mixing colors: mix cornstarch, flour, water, and lotion in a bowl. Mix these ingredients well, and ensure the paint consistency is your preference.