Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Babies Skin

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Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Babies Skin

Paint is paint, right? Wrong. If you’re an artist and specifically a painter, you likely know that there are several different types of paint, used for different purposes.

Or if you’re one of many Dallas painting companies, then you might know a thing or two about paint as well.

Thus, any of these experts will tell you that acrylic paint is a combination of pigment for color and a synthetic resin binder. This binder usually comes out as a thick, somewhat clear substance before the actual color; that’s how you know its acrylic.

Acrylic paint is a go-to for artists because it is easy to blend and manipulate, but if you’re under the misconception that paint is paint, would you feel confident enough to put it on your baby’s skin? This is what the experts have to say about acrylic paint and your baby.

Is acrylic paint safe for skin?

Acrylic paint is cheap and easy to come by. It is used for almost any craft you can imagine and is considered ‘non-toxic’. However, it is important to know that non-toxic is not synonymous with ‘safe for skin’.

If you’ve ever painted with acrylic paint, then you’ve probably gotten some on your skin, and in most cases, nothing happened. Your skin likely didn’t singe off, or burn, or result in some life-threatening issue, but acrylic paint can actually contain:

  • Lead
  • Ammonia
  • Formaldehyde
  • Chromium
  • Cobalt
  • Cadmium

All of these elements are harmful to humans, including the skin, so when it comes to your past experience with acrylic paint, consider yourself lucky. The truth is, it depends on how much of these ingredients are present.

For example, you should try to use acrylic paint with less than 1% formaldehyde for safest results. If you are ever forced to work with acrylic paint in contact with the skin, consider these other helpful tips:

  1. Always test it first

Use a very small amount on a very small portion of the skin to observe if you have any adverse reactions first.

  1. Use acrylic paint in a well-ventilated area

Especially due to the formaldehyde in paint, it is important to use in an area with good air circulation, otherwise the carcinogen can have harmful health effects.

  1. Don’t use close to the mouth or nose 

If you must paint on the skin, or accidentally paint on the skin, do not use close to the nose or mouth. This makes it easier to ingest or inhale, which can have the most harmful effects on the body.

  1. Check the ingredients

In addition to the formaldehyde level, it is also important to note what other ingredients are in your acrylic paint before using. If there are any questionable or large quantities of the ingredients listed above, it might be best to skip the acrylic altogether.

Can you use acrylic paint for baby handprints?

Based on what you just read about acrylic paint, would you use it on your baby? Baby handprints are a precious keepsake that every parent wants to cherish forever. They are often made on either canvas or paper, or sometimes sculpted out of clay.

A parents’ first thought is usually to paint their tiny hands, but you might want to give it a second thought knowing what you do now.

When using any type of paint on a baby’s hand, you want to ensure that it is non-toxic and water-based. For these reasons, tempera paint or Crayola brand paints are great contenders. Another option is ink, which is what the doctors use and typically has less risk.

Whether you choose ink or paint, the most important part is to wipe away the paint or ink with a damp washcloth immediately.

The bottom line is, if you wipe it immediately, most people will tell you that acrylic paint can be used, the question is, would you really want to? If you are still uncertain, the best solution is always to speak with your child’s doctor.

How do you get acrylic paint off baby skin?

Acrylic paint is fast drying; great for artists, terrible for moms. It is also water-based, which means it can be diluted with water before use, but once it is on the skin, water won’t wash it away alone.

Once you’ve made this adorable keepsake of your baby’s handprints and footprints, you might notice that the paint is not coming off as easily as you would have hoped. Soap and water is a go-to, but not always the remedy for acrylic paint.

Fortunately, there’s no need to panic. We’ve got several other acrylic paint remover remedies that should do just the trick.

  • Baby oil: A wise choice for parents because you know it’s safe. Baby oil is an excellent remover for acrylic paint on your baby’s skin. Gently massage the oil into your fingertips and then into the paint to help break it up. Then use your fingernails to gently scrape off the paint.
  • Rubbing alcohol: Whatever the baby oil can’t wash away, it can usually be salvaged with rubbing alcohol. Simply dab some rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball and rub over the painted area. This should remove all of it. Then wash the area with soap and water to remove the smell and avoid irritation.
  • Butter/ margarine: Really, this stuff is like nature’s oil, so it makes sense. Use butter or margarine as you would the baby oil; by rubbing it into the paint. Then use fingernails to scrape and rinse with soapy water to remove the butter.
  • Petroleum jelly: Pretty much anything that’s oil-based or gelatin-like seems to do the trick. Petroleum jelly or Vaseline is also a wise choice for babies because parents already know that it is safe to use on their baby’s skin.
  • Hand sanitizer: Since in some cases, hand sanitizer is practically just rubbing alcohol anyway, this should work like a charm. And at least you’ll be getting the area nice and cleaned.

When soap and water don’t work, it is highly recommended to use baby oil, petroleum jelly, Vaseline, or similar substances next, to remove acrylic paint. This is because these products are already baby safe, so you know they won’t cause any further harm than the acrylic paint already did.

What paint is safe for baby footprints?

Whether you’re crafting handprints or footprints, the rules are the same- and so is the cuteness.

As a rule of thumb, the faster you can wipe the paint away, the less harmful it should be for the baby. If you are ever unsure about a certain paint, dab a small amount on their arm and observe for at least 24 hours to ensure they have no reaction to it.

These are important tips, but that still doesn’t mean you would use just any paint.

Keep in mind that non-toxic ink is also used by the doctor and the most mess-free option, but if you have your heart set on paint, you have a few options on which is safest for baby. Just be sure that all paint is clearly labeled non-toxic.

  • Water-based: Water-based paint is exactly what it sounds like, and is the best option for baby because being made of primary water, means the least damage it can do. That being said, acrylic paint is also a water-based paint, so you want to be knowledgeable about what you are using on a baby. 
  • Tempera paint: Tempera paint actually refers to egg tempera, since egg yolk is often used as the binding medium. This makes tempera paint safer than most, due to its natural, organic components. Tempera paint is a good choice for any baby-involved craft because it is non-toxic and wipes away easily-even with just a simple baby wipe.
  • Crayola & other poster paint: Crayola is actually one of the most common brands that make tempera and similar poster/ craft paint. When making crafts with babies, it is helpful to know exactly which brands you can use.

Finding the best and safest paint for baby is truly not hard. In fact, if you really need peace of mind, homemade and even edible paint is not that difficult to make.

If you’re worried about making handprints with an older baby/toddler because they may stick the paint into their mouths, homemade, edible finger paint is as easy as cornstarch, water, and food coloring.

If you’re just worried about the harmful effects of acrylic paint and other paints overall, we get it. We’ve been there. And you’re just being a good parent.

The best thing you can do is leave it to the experts. At Dallas Paints, we pride ourselves in having the know-everything knowledge, for everything you need to know about paint.

With our paint services, we can recommend what paints not to use on that adorable keepsake, and even what paints are the safest to paint your little one’s nursery, which includes water-based products and products with zero volatile organic compounds, VOC’s.

At Dallas Paints we won’t just recommend the best paint, we’ll even paint the nursery for you. You know what that means, one less task on your baby to-do list.

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