Acrylic nails are not a bad product for your own nails but the things associated with them give them a bad name.

Acrylic nails are bad if one of these things happens:

  • Broken nails.
  • Fungal infections.
  • Allergies.
  • Excessive sanding or buffing on natural nails.
  • Unhealthy chemical fumes.
  • Bad nail techs or salons.
  • Users’ negligence.

To understand these in more detail, read on.

Broken nails:

Sometimes your acrylic nails break or crack, and you will experience some pain. If your artificial nails are longer than what you normally wear, chances for you to break some will increase. The pain associated with broken longer nails will also magnify because it will be more likely that you will hit it as you use your hand and fingers.

Artificial nails are strong and very rigid. That leads you to believe it can withstand a lot of abuse you throw at them but what they do rest on are your delicate flesh and thin natural nails. Keep in mind though, however strong acrylic nails are, they will break if subject to strong forces or impacts.

Fungal infections:

If acrylic nails are not applied properly natural nail surface, they will separate or lift prematurely. This will create gaps and as you wash your hands with tap water, it will enter and stay in these gaps. There are always bacteria living in your tap water.

Given the warm body temperature and moist condition, bacteria will grow and start to create a light yellowish, then green, brown and finally black color spot on your nails.

People mistakenly blame acrylic nails for giving them nail fungus but now you know that acrylic nails do not cause nail fungus. It is a bad acrylic nail application that causes it.

Itchy or painful allergies:

Even though only a small percentage of people who are sensitive to acrylic nails products that cause irritation or pain after they have acrylic nails, this allergic condition gives them a very bad name.

Acrylic nails cause uncontrollable itch the first night:

for people who have a low tolerance for acrylic nails products, they will develop a mild form of allergy which is called skin contact dermatitis. Two things will cause this reaction:

All acrylic nail liquid products are not allowed to dry or evaporate completely during an acrylic nail application:

If there is no acrylic nail liquid product that is in contact with your nails and skin, there should be no skin contact dermatitis.

Acrylic nail dust is not removed from the fingers completely after an acrylic nail application:

If there is a tiny speck of acrylic nail dust embedded between your fingernail and cuticle, it will create an itchy skin contact dermatitis until it is removed through hand washing.

Some people who say acrylic nails will cause allergy is only partly correct but now you know that acrylic nails are given the chance to cause allergy.

Acrylic nails cause pain after they are put on:

This condition is not caused by an allergy, but rather an overly thick acrylic nail application on thin fingernails.

Natural nails are flexible. Thinner nails are even more so. When powder and liquid acrylics are mixed on top of your fingernails, a chemical reaction will take place and it is an exothermic one or giving off heat. After the reaction is complete, a solid product is created. If this solid-forming chemical reaction takes place on a thin nail, it more likely to warp or bend the shape of the thin nail under it.

It is the extra heat and shape bending that causes the pain in the fingernail until all the heat is gone and nerve endings in the fingernails are used to with the nail shape change.

In short, it is an excess amount of acrylics on your delicate thin fingernails that causes pain, not the acrylic nails themselves.

Excessive sanding or buffing on real nails:

Whether you get your acrylic nails done at a nail salon or do it yourself, do not let your natural fingernails be under excessive sanding or buffing. This will make your fingernails thin needlessly.

All nail enhancements including acrylic nails recommend roughen up the natural nail surfaces to remove shine, not gouging them.

This will not be a problem until you decide to remove acrylics off your nails. Now you are left with even thinner nails than before acrylics. Your own nails will be thin and also having ridges, splits or tears that will worsen if they get caught in your clothes or hair.

Unhealthy chemical fumes:

Acrylic nails do have a distinct strong odor that is very offensive to people who have never been exposed to before.

According to FDA, “Nail products sold in the united states must be safe for consumers when used according to directions on the label, or in the usual or customary way”. So any major, reputable acrylic nail manufacturer will want to follow the government’s guidelines in making their products to avoid penalties and bad publicity.

Therefore, it is safe to say that there are no cancer-causing chemicals in acrylic nails.

It is the nail salon owner’s responsibility to provide proper ventilation to remove the strong odor associated with acrylic nails to protect its workers and customers from being overexposed.

So acrylic nails do have a strong odor, but it is not its fault that you as a customer has to experience it.

Bad nail techs or salons:

Not all nail techs or salons are created equal. A bad nail tech will usually rush through an acrylic nail application assuming his or her work is good for all customers. In doing so, he or she will conveniently skip or avoid extra steps that provide overall public health safety and each customer satisfaction.

Bad nail techs will give you an acrylic nail service that might unknowingly give you extra bad things that are mention above to bring home.

In short, nail technicians who do bad acrylic nails are the people who give acrylic nails a bad name.

Users’ negligence:

Overgrown nails: acrylic nails will grow out with your natural nails, and you will need to have an acrylic fill-in service to cover the grow out space with new acrylics and to shorten them to your preferred lengths.

If this follow-up service is not done in time, your acrylic nails will be too long and chances for you to accidentally break them and hurt yourself will be higher.

Use them as tools: some people do use their strong acrylic nails as a screwdriver or the likes

Tips for preventing bad acrylic nails:

Be an informed customer, you will prevent most of the bad things that are associated with acrylic nails then you can come to love all the great features of acrylic nails.

Broken nails:

Try to wear acrylic nails with your “workable length”. Longer nails tend to break easier.

Do tell your nail tech how you use your nails at home and work so she will build your acrylic nails accordingly.

Whenever you put your hands under anything like a heavy box or grocery bag, make sure you have a good hold before lifting it up. Slipped fingers will cause some of your acrylic nails to break. Pain from these incidents is very severe.

Fungal infections:

  • Make sure your nail technician follow complete acrylic nails application to ensure good adhesion. Even a great one sometimes forgets some steps if she is distracted.
  • Keep your acrylic nails on the shorter side. Shorter nails will put less repetitive stress and bending on the adhesion between real nails and acrylics. So it will be less chance for premature separation to cause fungus.
  • Do not try to pick your acrylics. This will create gaps that fungus will have a chance to develop.


  • All liquid nail products that are used on your real nails are completely dry before a next step is performed. You can achieve this by drying your fingernails with a fan. If you are allergic to acrylic nails, a heater fan or a hairdryer is the best in drying those chemical liquids.
  • No cuticle oils or lotions of any kind on your fingernails for at least 24 hours or there are no allergic symptoms. These oily substances will trap the nail liquids and nail dust and keep them on your nails.
  • Do use a small brush to scrub off those tiny acrylic nail dust of each and all of your nails and cuticles with very warm water and soap for at least 1 minute.

No excessive sanding or buffing:

Do not let your nail technician over sand or buff your real nails. If you feel your nail technician is heavy-handed on doing your nails, do not hesitate to say that it hurting you.

If you do it at home, a few back-and-forth light strokes of a fine emery board or nail file will be sufficient.

Avoid chemical fumes:

Avoid salons that have overly strong odor all the time.

Try to come in for your service when your salon is the least busy, usually mornings of the first days of the week.

Choose a good nail tech or reputable salon:

An experienced and knowledgeable nail tech will create a beautiful and safe set of acrylic nails for you.

Do not feel uncomfortable when your nail tech first asks you many questions that seem intruding or nosy. She just wants to know as much as possible so she can recommend the most suitable acrylic nail set for you.

Good nail techs will want to work in clean, state-licensed nail salons. So good nail techs and good nail salons often go hand in hand.

As a customer:

  • Schedule your fill in time regularly
  • Consider bringing your own nail toolset
  • Choose licensed salon and nail technicians over unlicensed ones 
  • Do ask for clean, sterilized nail tools if you suspect their conditions.

If you do your own acrylic nails, follow the product instruction and do it in a well-ventilated area. chemicals used during the application process.

Lastly, consider removing your artificial nails and stay off acrylics for a couple of months or so. This downtime will give your own nails time to rest and grow back naturally.

Happy nails!

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