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Author: Subject: Cleaning Nitric Acid Stains from Skin
Delta-R
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[*] posted on 28-4-2022 at 20:01
Cleaning Nitric Acid Stains from Skin


So the general consensus from everything I’ve ever read has been that it’s impossible to remove Nitric acid stains from skin and you just need to wait for new skin to replace it. Well I’ve done a bit of experimenting and have found that’s not quite the case. Now first off, the best plan is to wear good gloves and not have get any nitric on you in the first place but obviously accidents happen. This probably isn’t great for your skin so I don’t recommend doing it unless you have a reason to and definitely use some moisturizer afterwards. But with that out of the way:

To start, make a concentrated solution of sodium hydroxide and let it cool. Using a paper towel, apply the NaOH solution to the affected area. You will notice an instant color change from yellow to deep orange. Leave it on until you can just start to feel a bit of discomfort, then under running water, use a scotch brite pad to scour the area. The affected skin will begin to flake away leaving clean skin underneath. Depending on the area affected, and other factors (probably including how oily your skin is), it may require you repeat the process, however it will eventually all come off, leaving the area feeling a bit dry but otherwise no worse for wear. This works on fingernails as well. A control area that was scoured without applying the sodium hydroxide solution was left looking a little better but still stained significantly.

I assume the mechanisms involve the NaOH neutralizing the xanthoproteic acid which causes the yellowing, as well as drying out the affected layer of epithelial cells due to saponification of the oils in the skin allowing them to be more easily sloughed off from mechanical abrasion, as well as allowing water to better solvate some of the reactants and carry them away, but if anyone has a more nuanced understanding of what’s going on, definitely share.
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MineMan
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[*] posted on 28-4-2022 at 20:52


Can you move this to general Chem?
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woelen
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28-4-2022 at 23:07
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[*] posted on 28-4-2022 at 23:15


I moved this to responsible practices, this has not much to do with energetic materials.

I would be very reluctant in trying this. I certainly would not try this on more than a few square cm, and only on less critical places like fingers, hands, maybe arms or legs. The yellow color may be removed, but what comes in place of that? How will it look like after a few days? Is there a chance of having residual scars? So, be careful!




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SWIM
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[*] posted on 29-4-2022 at 03:15


I think this works because concentrated lye dissolves human beings.
You're just stopping the process before completion.

There may be a faster way: The stain is a nitrated organic, so perhaps it could be detonated off with a suitable primer.:D

Now there's an energetic materials solution to the problem.

Edit: If the lye solution is warmed to 150C it takes about 3 hours to turn a person into an scummy brown fluid. Certain drug cartels use this disposal method.

But to be fair, I am pretty sure they were doing this in New Jersey and the Rhode Island /Delaware area first. Like back in the 80s.
Probably not common, but there were stories even Back then.

[Edited on 29-4-2022 by SWIM]

[Edited on 29-4-2022 by SWIM]

[Edited on 30-4-2022 by SWIM]




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RustyShackleford
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[*] posted on 29-4-2022 at 04:48


Lye decreases the structural integrity of the skin, scouring pad then is able to remoev a deeper layer of it.
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[*] posted on 29-4-2022 at 06:14


Nope. No thanks, I’ll keep the yellow stains for a few days rather than chemically removing my skin.



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[*] posted on 30-4-2022 at 07:19


Again, I specifically said I wouldn’t recommend doing it regularly or if you don’t need to, and I definitely agree that its probably a bad idea to try this on any sensitive areas, however if you have a job interview or something where it NEEDS to be removed, this works great on hands, etc. I can report no ill effects after a week - there was never any redness, pain, discomfort of any kind, no peeling, blistering, etc.… Dryness is really the only side effect I’ve noticed. Essentially this is a basic chemical peel which is a common dermatological procedure.

Like I said, I would definitely recommend lotion/moisturizer application after this just to rehydrate the skin, and certainly never do this with a warm or hot solution, make sure it’s cooled off completely to room temperature before attempting, as hot sodium hydroxide is obviously much more aggressive. But from personal experience, I am confident that this method can be utilized occasionally as needed with complete safety
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[*] posted on 30-4-2022 at 09:40


Only process I know of that could reduce nitro-groups in neutral conditions like that is with sodium dithionite, perhaps try that?
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[*] posted on 1-5-2022 at 05:31


Why would you shun your chemist battle scars? They're to be worn with pride! Real talk, doing MORE damage to your skin just to remove evidence of prior damage is about as inane as it gets. You're defatting your skin by doing this, opening yourself up to infections and definitely causing irritation. Stick to nonliving materials to run your experiments on.
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[*] posted on 1-5-2022 at 05:56


If it isn't fuming acid you could always use some gloves.

You explosives guys have it tough by comparison with your high-power nitrating mixtures.

I wonder if there are effective barrier creams for that?




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[*] posted on 5-5-2022 at 10:55


Honestly, it doesn't hurt and doesn't have any negative health effects, so I don't see why you would bother. I got some fuming stuff on my hand and it didn't even sting. The only downside was people asking, but I just said it was pen-ink



There wasn't a fire, we just had an uncontrolled rapid oxidation event at the power plant.
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[*] posted on 5-5-2022 at 22:37


Nitric acid interacts with the keratin present in skin and nails. Just wait until the dead epidermis wears off normally. Regeneration of skin should be complete within 3 weeks.
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