A woman was seriously injured in April when a bowl of acetone ignited, sending her to the hospital with second-degree burns covering about 40% of her body. The woman — a regular client at Baltimore’s Nail Studio — was having her nails soaked off . Although not all the details are clear, it appears the acetone was being warmed in an electric heating bowl.

Accidents like this, and the 2001 incident in which acetone ignited while being heated in a microwave, serve as a reminder to use caution and follow safety procedures when dealing with volatile substances. “Solvents like acetone evaporate more quickly when heated, which makes them more flammable. Adding warmth does make acetone work faster, but you must take more care to prevent accidental fires,” says Doug Schoon, chief scientific advisor for CND. He recommends the following techniques to safely heat acetone:

1. Put just the amount of acetone you need to heat in a loosely capped container.

2. Fill a larger bowl or container with warm water.

3. Set the smaller bottle of acetone in the bowl of warm water and allow the warm water to do the heating.

Alternatively, put cotton balls saturated in acetone on the nail, then wrap the fingertip in aluminum foil. The body heat warms the acetone and removes the product much faster with less risk of accidental fire.

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