A night mask called Skincerity has been getting some publicity recently. It costs $89.95 and you just roll it over your face for "a perfect solution for sun damaged skin, acne, common rashes, itching, and many insect bites. Developed from National Institutes of Health grant funding, Skincerity is not a cover-up or cosmetic. It is a genuine health care product. You don't feel or smell it - you experience it!" And what is the secret sauce? Acetone. Yes the (smelly) stuff in nailpolish remover.

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What Is Skincerity?

This is one of the oddest beauty products I have seen in a long while. According to the ingredients for Skincerity listed on essentialdayspa.com, the dominant ingredient is acetone. There's also a component of non-stick pans. What mad scientist is behind this formula? But before we panic on behalf of the gullible who buy this and roll it on at bedtime (I hope they aren't nocturnal smokers; isn't acetone flammable?) perhaps we should look into Skincerity a little more deeply.

After all, someone selling Skincerity posted on a comment on essentialdayspa.com to point out that only "medical grade acetone" is used. I have no doubt they were utterly skincere, but try doing an online search for "medical grade acetone", you won't find much. Acetone is a common solvent and component of nail polish remover. Its one of the most powerful solvents you can buy without a license. So what's it doing in a face mask?

Truthfully, I have no idea. What I do know is that acetone is a chemical that is found naturally in the environment and is also produced by industries. Low levels of acetone are normally present in the body from the breakdown of fat. Having said that, in a lab experiment, people who had liquid acetone applied directly on their skin and held there for a half hour developed skin irritation. When the skin was looked at under a microscope, some of the skin cells were damaged (source).

What Else Is In Skincerity?

Next up is flouropolymer. This is not a friend of acetone. According to Wikipedia, flouropolymer shows a strong resistance to solvents (thankfully, acetone is probably strong enough to get the better of it). Flouropolymers are friction resistant and are a component of Teflon. They also provide a fabulous shield against corrosion. Now that's what I call antiaging. You might be interested to know that the active ingredient in Living Proof No Frizz is a modified flouropolymer.

Eventually, I worked out flouropolymers turn up as polytetrafluoroethylene in things like face powders and eyeshadows for a "luxurious, dry, silky feel". I expect that's what why they are in Skincerity.

Now what of acrylic polymer. Trying to find out how it would be applied to skincare, I found a patent to use acrylic copolymers to form a thin, protective layer over the skin. The target consumers include "housewives" and "dishwashers in restaurants".

This is normally used to suspend pigment in acrylic paint and, of course, acrylic nail polish. Much like enamels, the acrylic nail polish has tiny particles of acrylic resin. The difference is that they are suspended in water. The water part of the polish is partially evaporated and partially absorbed into the fingernail. The resin left behind fuses together and creates a strong polish.

Skincerity is a veritable yin and yang with both nail polish and remover things. Perhaps our mad scientist is a frustrated manicurist.

Ingredients in Skincerity:

Acetone, Flouropolymer, Acrylic polymer, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Fragrance.