Painting can really get messy. It’s only natural that when your slapping paint around or flicking little bits of paint for your brush to add a little zest that some of that zest ends up on you. If you are a little new to this then you might be wondering… Do oil paints stain the skin over time? The good news is that oil paints will not stain your skin, but they can irritate it a little and you need to resist the urge to clean your hand with solvents. This is because solvents can absorb into your skin and this can make you very sick.
Today I’ll tell you a little more about what happens when oils get on your skin, as well as the best ways to clean them off, and whether or not oil paints are okay on your face (hint – the answer rhymes with ‘snow’!).
Let’s talk about oils and skin-safety!
What happens if oil paint gets on your skin?
Oil paints are kinda toxic. Scratch that, they are VERY toxic, but the danger is in eating them, rather than getting it on your skin. For the most part, if you gets oils on your skin the worst that should happen is a bit of skin irritation and not everyone will experience even that.
Solvents can be a problem, however, as these can be absorbed into the skin, and you definitely don’t want that. So, does this mean that you should paint with gloves? No, not at all. While some artists do like to paint with gloves to make cleanup easier, you don’t need to do that if you don’t want to.
What IS a good idea is keeping an old hand towel nearby and a bin of soap and water, so that if you get some paint on your hands you can easily clean and dry as you go. This will reduce the changes of any skin irritation and make your final cleanup when you’re done for the day just a wee bit easier.
How do you get oil-based paint off your skin?
If the oil paint is still wet, then soap and water is generally going to do the trick nicely. You can use artist’s soap, but it’s really not necessary. Plain old Ivory soap will work just fine and if you can even go with a moisturizing variety, just to make sure some of those additives in your paint don’t sneak up and give you dry hands.
Now, most of us get into a frenzy when we paint, so you might not notice splashes until they hardened a little and for those, you’ll need soap, water, and a scrub brush. The brush will help to loosen up the hardening oil paints enough that you should be able to rub them off with just a few minutes of scrubbing and elbow grease.
Finally, don’t wash your hands in solvent. You’ll dry your hands up and it will get absorbed into your skin and aside from cracked, dry skin, solvents make it easier for other chemicals to enter your body. Since oil paint pigments are made largely from dangerous heavy metals, it’s simply not a good idea to give them a chance to enter your body by means of that solvent.
Can oil paints be used on your face?
Nope. Oil paints should not be used for your face. Aside from the potential for skin irritation, the pigment components are toxic, and you really don’t want to end up getting chemicals in your mouth or in your eyes.
Don’t facepaint with acrylic paints, either, because peeling them off is like peeling an orange and your face will be that orange. Ouch! What you need for painting your face or body is simply body paints. Body paints are non-toxic and water based, so they’re safe to use and you won’t have to worry about them making a plastic layer on your face or the risk of ingesting heavy metals.
While we’re on the subject, I’ve got a great 3rd party article that will tell you how to choose your body paints so that you’ll know what you need to get started if you feel like doing a little body art. If you dabble in photography, you can really have a lot of fun with this. Check out the link here and you can get started!
In this article I’ve answered the question ‘Do oil paints stain skin’ and for those of you who are worried, feel free to relax. Oil paints definitely won’t stain your skin over time. While contact with your skin might cause redness and irritation, this should be the only possible side-effect unless solvent is also present. As solvent makes it easier for chemicals to be absorbed into your body, keeping a soap and water bin nearby is a good idea so you may rinse as-needed.
Now that you know, feel free to get messy. Flick and throw that paint and see what happens – sometimes the results are amazing!