Do you have itchy fingers after acrylic nails the very first night or day after you get them done?

For some people, an itchy allergic reaction to acrylic nails is so uncomfortable that it keeps them awake at night. The itch is caused by acrylic chemicals that come in contact with the cuticles or skin that is sensitive to them. It is a temporary and simpler case of skin contact allergy or contact dermatitis that starts shortly after acrylic application and will go away after those chemicals are no longer present.

Let’s find out what it means and why acrylic nails cause this severe itch in some people the first night they get their nails done. If you are enduring this itch, this article can help you identify it. You will also know how to relieve the itch and prevent it from happening again.

A skin contact dermatitis is a mild allergy that occurs when our immune system tries to protect our body from potentially harmful substances that can be either liquids or solids. These substances are called allergens.

Acrylic nails can cause skin contact dermatitis

It is a localized reaction that does not spread to other parts of the body and does not cause runny, itchy eyes or rashes on other parts of the body.

This skin contact dermatitis symptom will go away if the allergens or acrylic nail products are removed from the skin or cuticles.

Who can have skin contact dermatitis from acrylic nails

On some people, their fingers get itchy right after the first time they get acrylic nails because their immune system immediately rejects offensive foreign substance that it thinks harmful as the chemical product come in contact with the nails and surrounding skin.

For other seasoned acrylic nail wearers, their immune systems could tolerate it initially, but repeated overexposures will cause their immune systems to decide to fight the chemicals in acrylic nails. This is when they have contact dermatitis and it explains the question of why some people all of the sudden develop skin contact dermatitis after countless acrylic nail applications.

But lucky for both types of people who are affected by this allergy, it is a much simpler and less severe case of an allergic reaction. The itch will go away if all the acrylic nail products are removed from cuticles or surrounding skin.

Why do your cuticles itch after getting acrylics?

There are two ways to determine whether you have skin contact allergy or contact dermatitis to acrylic nail products:

  • You have sensitive skin, low tolerance to acrylic chemicals: human immune systems are different from one person to the next. For some people, their immune system is more sensitive to chemical nail products than others. If you belong to this group, these products will cause skin irritation.
  • Chemical products used on your fingers: liquid products that are used in acrylic nail application: bonder, dehydrator, primer, acrylic liquid.
  • The acrylic nail chemicals are not removed completely

When do the fingers itch after acrylic nails?

Usually a few hours after acrylic nail application. Your body will immediately determine if a substance is an offensive substance when it comes in contact with but it will take some time to fully react to it. This is when the itch becomes severe.

How to know if acrylic nails make you itch?

If more than half of your fingernails itch after you have acrylic nails done, they are probably the cause of your skin contact dermatitis conditions.

What nail technicians can do to avoid the itch from acrylic nails

  • Dry completely all the liquid products used on the nail surface.
  • when working on customers’ nails, try to avoid acrylic liquids from going over the cuticles and surrounding skin.
  • Nail dust has to be completely removed by using an air-compressed source.

Other causes that can make you itch after acrylic nails:

  • Minor cuts on cuticles or skin surrounding the nails can also make you itch if acrylic nail products are applied on top of them.
  • Excessive cuticle trimming will expose the lower layers of skin where nerve endings are. Acrylic chemicals will come in contact with them and cause an itchy sensation.
  • Overly pushing back cuticles will damage the delicate seals between the underside of the cuticles and the nail root and acrylic chemicals can enter your body through these broken seals.

Severe itch after acrylic nails are preventable

The itch caused by acrylic nails is skin contact dermatitis. If these acrylic nail chemicals dry out quickly before they have a chance to cause skin contact dermatitis, then there will be nothing to make your fingers itch. Follow the procedure below diligently then the chance you get skin contact dermatitis will be minimal or the itch will be much more tolerable.

How to prevent the itch during an acrylic nail application

This method of applying acrylic nails is based solely on two key points:

  • How to make all liquid chemicals evaporate as quickly as possible.
  • How to remove as much acrylic dust as possible.

It is applicable to both acrylic full set and fill-in procedures.

If you have your nail technician follow this procedure when he or she is doing acrylics on you, your fingers should have little or no itch at all.

Two things you need when you get acrylic nails at a nail salon:

  • A small heated fan or a hairdryer. If your nail salon does not have either one, you can bring your own.
  • An air-compressed source. If your nail salon has an airbrush compressor for airbrushing, you are in luck. If they do not it, you can buy an air-compressed can which is used to clean up computers. They are readily available at office supply stores.


The additional steps below are necessary to remove excess acrylic nail products from your fingernails right after they are applied.

When to use the heater fan. Dry your nails for 30 seconds right after these steps:

  • Polish removal
  • dehydrator and primer
  • acrylic nail application

if you have acrylic nails done regularly, you should have no problem identifying the following steps. If it is your first time getting acrylic nails, let your nail technician know that you might be allergic to nail chemicals and she can do them for you.

After your nail technician finishes one hand, you should put it in front of the heater fan to remove all the excess acrylic nail chemicals.

For additional drying time, after your nail technician is done laying acrylics, put both hands in front of the heater fan for an additional one minute. This will ensure any remaining nail chemical liquid will evaporate away.

When to use the compressed air. After your acrylic nails are done.

Do not apply any cuticle oils to your fingernails. The oils will trap in remaining nail chemical liquids and dust. They will cause the itch you will have at night.

Position the compressed air nozzle about 1 to 2 inches away at one fingernail and start using the compressed air to blow away all the fine acrylic nail dust that is still deposited around the cuticles for at least 10 seconds. Do point the nozzle away from your face so the dust will not blow into your eyes and nose.

Repeat the above step for the remaining of your fingernails.

Now you can go wash your hands with soap and warm water. Do use a nail brush to scrub all the acrylic nail chemicals and dust off your nails under warm running water for at least 1 minute.

No hand lotion or cuticle oils.

As your nails being polished, keep the free hand in front of the heater fan for additional drying.

Do not use any hand lotion or cuticle oils until the next morning and only after your nails do not have any irritation or feeling itchy.

These are the additional steps that you must take when you have acrylic nails. They will remove any chemicals or dust so you will not develop any skin contact dermatitis which causes your nails to itch the first night.

How to stop the itch caused by acrylic nails fast at home?

If you already have a severe itch from acrylic nails after you left the nail, here is what you can do to relieve it at home.

The steps below are needed to remove:

  • Any cuticle oil or hand lotion you put on your nails.
  • Any remaining acrylic nails chemical residue or dust that is still attached to your nails.

Things you need:

  • 1 medium plastic bowl that can hold both your hands comfortably
  • 4 cups of very warm water
  • 4 tablespoons of hand or dish soap
  • A nail brush or a new toothbrush


  1. Pour water into the plastic bowl with soap and start mixing them with both hands.
  2. Soak your fingernails for at least 2 minutes while moving them around in the warm water.
  3. With one hand submerged, use a nail brush or a toothbrush to scrub the nails with the other hand. Scrub each nail for about one minute. While you are scrubbing one hand, keep the nails on the other hand wet with the same soap water.
  4. Do the same thing on the other hand.
  5. Wash both hands and nails under running warm water and dry your hands with a clean towel.
  6. Set a hairdryer at a low heat and medium fan speed, dry nails on each hand for two minutes. If it gets too hot, put your hand a little further away from the hot air so you will not get any skin burns. Also, remove all water containers away from the hairdryer.

After you finish, the itch should reduce to a level that you can tolerate. However, t may take a few hours for the itch to be completely gone.

If you still have a severe itch, repeat the above procedure one more time but increase the scrubbing time to two minutes for each nail.

Why do you need very warm water and a brush?

Very warm water will cause any remaining nail chemicals to evaporate away and the brush will scrub any remaining nail dust off the tiny gaps between the cuticles and the nails.

In summary, if you suffer a severe itch after you have acrylic nails, these are additional steps that you should take to lessen it and also prevent this unpleasant experience from happening to you again.

Good luck and enjoy your new nails.


Actually, there is.

The famous Gelish brand that invented gel polish recently introduced its latest nail extension product called Gelish soft gelt tips that is easy to put on and quick to take off. They are the best for people who want to do their nail extension at home because they have these three major advantages over other nail extension kits currently on the market:

  1. These tips come pre shaped so minimal filing is needed.
  2. These tips will last up to three weeks on the nails because their gel base coat provide the best adhesion on the real nails.
  3. Soaking off is easy and the same as taking off gel polish, soaking in acetone for 15 minutes.
  4. No itch-causing chemicals like primer or liquid monomer involved.

In short, you can create a quick but pretty full set of nails in less than 30 minutes at home and taking them off requires only 15 minutes of your time. You will not be exhausted and have time for your nail art or design creativity.

Are Gelish Soft Gel Nail Kit sound too good to be true? As a nail technician/nail salon owner for more than two decades, I think this is the best nail extension kit for home use that you can do it yourselves with minimal nail skills.

If you want to find out more about this new product, read my article about these Gelish Soft Gel Nail KitsOpens in a new tab..

You can purchase them on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

But for now, go ahead and work on your uncontrollable acrylic nail itch so it does not bother you anymore.

When you are ready for a new safer nail extension alternative, go back to this article to learn about it.

Good luck.

Related articles to why acrylic nails itch:

If your nails also hurt or sore after your get acrylics the same day, then the pain or sore is caused by other factorsOpens in a new tab. and you will know why your nails hurt or sore a few hours after you have acrylics put on

The one seemingly harmless product that could cause your cuticles to itchOpens in a new tab.. If you cut or trim your cuticles, they could be itchy if you use some kind of cuticle remover or softener. This chemical must be washed off your cuticles completely. Otherwise, it will cause your cuticles to itch. This article is a must-readOpens in a new tab. if you use any cuticle remover or softener product on your nails.

Putting acrylics on your nails is great to make them the same length or same shape so you can have the best-looking set of nails. Applying acrylics on natural nails can cause some discomfort or pain right after you get it. because of the solidification of acrylics.

This acrylic solidification will put stress on the nails by squeezing or warping the natural nails and temporarily change their normal shapes. This deformation will cause pain in your nails after you have acrylics. Learn more about why acrylic nails hurt after you get your nails done here.Opens in a new tab.

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Articles having medical content shall serve exclusively for the purpose of general information. Such articles are not suitable for any (self-) diagnosis and treatment of individual illnesses and medical indications. In particular, they cannot substitute for the examination, advice, or treatment by a licensed physician or pharmacist. No replies to any individual questions shall be effected through the articles.

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