Myth Busters: Will suntan lotion mixed with the ocean's salty water turn gels to goo?


I heard that if you go into the ocean with a lot of suntan lotion on, the small amount of acetone in the suntan lotion interacts with the salt water and can run down your fingers and turn your gels to goo. Is this true?


If that were true, then suntan lotion and salt water could be used to remove UV gels. Clearly that’s a myth and I’ve never seen acetone listed as a suntan lotion ingredient. Some suntan lotions contain ingredients that may absorb into the enhancements and soften them a little and cause discoloration, but no way are they turning to goo. I’d say this myth is busted. — Doug Schoon is the chief scientific advisor to CND.

Acetone is highly volatile and to my knowledge not used in any suntan or sunscreen lotion. However, certain sunscreens do have the capability of softening nail lacquer, causing it to smear or peel off. I haven’t heard of this happening with gel nails. — Paul Bryson, Ph.D., is the director of research and development at OPI.

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