Inside The Myth About Removing Nail Polish From A Dead Body

There are many myths about dead bodies that people believe to be true. One of the most common beliefs, for instance, is that nails grow even after death. However, as science has proven, that is not a fact. As noted by the BBC, nails need glucose to grow, and when death occurs, the body stops supplying glucose, which stops nails from growing. The myth is based on the appearance of nails looking longer even after death. But there is a logical explanation behind it. When the body becomes dehydrated after death, the skin around the nails retracts, making the nails appear longer.

In 2013, there was another myth about fingernails that spread on social media platforms. In the Facebook post, girls were warned about using nail polish. The post stated that when you die, nail polish on the fingernails cannot be removed, even with the use of nail polish remover. The post was directed toward Muslims who perform a purification ritual bath — ghusl — for their deceased loved ones (via Sound Vision). The practice consists of the methodical washing of the entire body, including the nails. If the nails are coated in polish, the polish must be removed in order for the ghusl to be valid, as noted by Islam QA.

Nail polish can be removed from a dead body

Many people believed the myth about not being able to remove nail polish from a dead body. To prevent the spread of false information, experts debunked the claim. It isn't true that nail polish can't be removed from the nails of a dead person. First, the nails visible on our hands are made up of dead cells. According to Healthline, new cells grow underneath the skin, and the old nails get pushed out as a result. That is also the reason why we don't feel pain when we cut our nails. This means that even if we are still alive, the nails on our toes and fingers are already dead.

Knowing that fact, it doesn't matter whether someone is dead or alive; Nail polish can easily be removed either way. There are several ways to do this, the most obvious of which is to use nail polish remover. However, there are other products that can be used, too, as noted by Byrdie, including alcohol, toothpaste, a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice, and hydrogen peroxide.

Debunking the myth with a test

Some people aren't easily convinced without proof. A simple experiment you can do at home will be able to give you the facts you need to decide whether the myth is true or not (via Milled). The next time you need to clip your long nails, paint them with nail polish first. Allow the nails to dry completely before clipping. Place the painted nail clippings in a container and leave them for a few days. To make the experiment more accurate, leave the container in the refrigerator for a few days to recreate the temperature in a morgue.

After a few days, use nail polish remover to erase the polish on the nails. You'll find out that the polish can be easily removed without problems. The process may be more difficult when gel nail polish is used, as it lasts longer than regular nail polish, but it can be removed by soaking the nails in acetone, according to Harper's Bazaar. It may be a more tedious process, but it isn't impossible, even from a dead body.