Can You Put Acrylic Paint On Your Face?

Acrylic paint is a versatile paint that many artists use for various purposes. It’s also very affordable, which makes it an excellent option for different kinds of arts and crafts. Since acrylic paint is water-based and can easily be removed from any surface, many face artists have started using it on human skin. So the question arises, can you put Acrylic paint on your face?

You can put non-toxic acrylic paint on your face. But there is a bit of disagreement between artists since acrylic paint contains many toxic chemical substances.

Read this article below to learn more about the compatibility of acrylic paint on human skin and find out if it’s worth the risk.

Can You Put Acrylic Paint On Your Face

What Are The Components Of Acrylic Paint?

There are mainly two significant components of acrylic paint, the pigments, and the binder. But the ingredients differ from one manufacturer to the other. Each has its formula. Plus, there are tons of different types of acrylic paint.

Acrylic paints are mainly made of pigments dispersed in acrylic polymer emulsion and plasticizers, silicon-based oils, defoamers, stabilizers, or metal soaps.

The pigments contain:

  • Cadmium Sulfide
  • Cobalt Powder
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Iron Oxides
  • White Lead or Lead Sulfite

The binder is made of Polymethyl Methacrylate, which is a non-toxic hydrocarbon. Ammonia is used in most acrylic paints as a thickener that has toxic properties.

Related: Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Plastic

Is Acrylic Paint Harmful For Your Skin?

Here’s the deal. There are some acrylic paints available on the market which are non-toxic. Apart from that, most of the acrylic paints on the market have chemical substances that can be harmful during long-term exposure to the human face or skin in general. So before applying acrylic paint, make sure to check the label.

Let’s first talk about the cons of applying non-toxic acrylic paint to your skin. These paints do not contain any harmful heavy materials, and they are pretty light and thin. But many people have allergic skin, which can cause rashes and skin burns after applying acrylic paint.

When it dries, it becomes stiff. So it’ll become tough for you to wear a smile after putting acrylic paint on your skin. You can apply a mud face mask to avoid cracking your acrylic design.

Many artists do not bother to check the toxicity level of the paint because only a few people face complications. But the heavy metals used in the pigment can cause mild to severe damage to your skin. The harmful effects of these substances are given below:

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs):

These are the substances that release harmful gases, and some acrylic paints contain them. They include Formaldehyde, Toluene, Xylene, Benzene, and Acetone. After putting paint on the face, these substances enter the body through inhalation. If a large amount of these substances are allowed to enter the body, they’ll hurt the kidneys, liver, and brain.


Cadmium is used in yellow acrylic paints. Cadmium can not enter our body through the skin, but dust particles that contain Cadmium can make their way into our body through inhalation. Cadmium can cause inflammation in the respiratory tract and cause kidney problems. Excessive amounts can lead to organ damage.


Large quantities of cobalt may have adverse effects on our bodies. Cobalt poisoning can cause asthma and pneumonia.


A large concentration of ingested manganese can cause lung irritation and, in severe cases, cause bronchitis.


The side effects of inhaled Chromium include nose irritation and breathing issues. It can also cause allergies.


Lead usage is banned in most countries for industrial purposes. High exposure to lead causes leads poisoning.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium Dioxide is used in paints, cosmetics, sunscreen, and other products. There’s no adequate research on this product. But the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified it as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen. So this product could be carcinogenic to humans.

Ammonia Can Be The Most Harmful Agent

Ammonia is used in acrylic paints as a thickener. Most acrylic paints contain ammonia. Exposure to ammonia can lead to several respiratory diseases. Nausea, vomiting, dizziness after applying acrylic paint can be symptoms of the toxicity of ammonia. 

Side Effects Of Putting Acrylic Paint On Your Face

The side effects depend on the duration of exposure to acrylic paint. But face art does not come with severe side effects. Here are some short-term and long-term side effects:

Side Effects Due To Short Term Exposure

  • The fumes can irritate your ears, nose, and throat.
  • Headaches, dizziness, nausea, or trouble breathing.
  • Irritation of the skin.
  • It can be harmful if swallowed.

Side Effects Due To Long Term Exposure

  • Damage to the nervous system.
  • Organ damage.
  • Some of the organic compounds and heavy metals found in paint can be carcinogenic.

Turn Acrylic Paint Into Face Paint

The good news is, you can turn acrylic paint into face paint since it’s so versatile. You can use this method to reduce the side effects of acrylic paint (like skin redness and irritation).

The materials you need for this are:

  • Non-toxic Acrylic paint
  • A lotion or moisturizer
  • A palette        
  • Egg cartons (if you need several colors)

After you have collected all the materials, you can start the procedure of making face paint. The procedures are:

  • Take a palette and squeeze the non-toxic acrylic paint onto it.
  • Add the lotion or moisturizer in a decent amount.
  • Mix them with a mixing brush or an ice cream stick until the mixture is well blended.

Select a brush according to the kind of pattern you want to draw. Take some paint and apply it to your face. You can also apply some moisturizer to your face before applying the paint, which will form a layer of protection from the paint. Acrylic paints tend to crack after a certain period of exposure to the skin.  You can directly buy non-toxic face paint.

How To Remove Acrylic Paint From Face?

Some people apply regular acrylic paints to their skin, which are so difficult to remove because of their hardening nature. So, many artists peel acrylic paint off their skin. This can be extremely painful, irritating, and can cause redness of the skin. In many cases, some parts of the skin can also be damaged.

Removing DIY Acrylic Face Print Is Much Easier

Removing all the face paint at once is difficult because of the way it dries. First, you’ll have to rinse your face with water and then apply soap to it. You may have to peel some of the paint, but it’s much easier than peeling regular acrylic paint.

It’s more like removing makeup or a face mask from your skin. Use warm water and start massaging with some soap or face wash in a circular motion. You can also take a fresh cloth and make it wet with some warm water and gently remove the paint from your skin. But it can cause redness in your face.

You can use makeup remover wipes to get rid of these paints. They are much more effective and gentler on your face.

It All Depends On Your Skin Type

Here’s the fact, if you have sensitive skin, it doesn’t matter how good your paint is, you’ll face complications. Many people don’t get any redness or irritation even after applying regular acrylic paint with harmful chemicals. But if you don’t have enough knowledge about your skin type, make sure you’re not applying toxic acrylic paint at all.

While using the DIY face paint, observe if you’re feeling irritation or burns on your skin. If you do so, remove the paint immediately.

Precautions For Applying Acrylic Paint To Your Face

The thinnest part of your skin is the one covering your face. So you need to be extra careful while applying any kind of paint to it. Here are some safety measures:

  • Before applying the paint, make sure you’ve checked the label of the paint.
  • Always use non-toxic thin pigmented acrylic paints.
  • Apply moisturizer before putting on paint. Avoid applying the paint directly to the skin.
  • Avoid the area around your eyes, nostrils, and lips.
  • Wash the paint immediately if you feel any sort of burn or irritation.
  • Don’t peel the paint off your face.
  • Do not apply paint to your face if you have pimples or other skin diseases.

Learn more about acrylic paints:


Regular acrylic paints contain harmful chemicals that can cause problems to your face. Instead, go for homemade non-toxic face paint or buy skin-safe face paint from the stores. Make sure you’re taking all the preventive measures before applying the paint.

If you don’t want to invest in paints other than acrylic, you can easily make them less toxic and more suitable for your face. So even though the answer of can you put acrylic paint on your face is yes, but applying toxic acrylic paint to your face is never an option and not worth the risk.

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