One of the issues that people might have after they get acrylic nails is that their nails hurt after acrylics.

Acrylic nails hurt or sore after they are put on can come from one or more of the following possible causes:

  • Injured natural nails.
  • Excessive filling on the natural nail surface.
  • Acrylic nail product itself.
  • Thin natural nails.

The acrylic nail pain can occur a few hours after they are put on because it can come from one of the above four factors. They can either act alone or more likely team up with the other three to cause discomfort, usually the first night.

If you just got your nails done and they hurt and what to know what you can do, then read on. the causes and steps to relieve your acrylic nail pain are explained below.

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Acrylics on injured natural nails can cause pain

If you break a nail yourself and the nail is bleeding or looks bruised, then you should wait for the bleeding to stop or for the bruised nail to stop hurting. Trying to lay acrylic nails on these injured fingernails will put unnecessary stresses on them with heat, chemicals from the nails, and excessive bending with longer acrylic nails. This is the worst time to put on acrylics on an injured nail because you might experience a throbbing pain under this acrylic nail. If any of your nails have one of the following these injuries:

  • Cuts on the skin around or on the cuticle
  • Bleeding caused by pulling hangnails
  • Bruises
  • Break or crack on natural nails
  • Nail splits that cause bleeding

Sometimes, putting acrylic nails on the injured natural nails will cause infection if the wound is not completely cleaned and sanitized and nail salons are not allowed to do this on injured nails anyway. This infection can also cause additional pain on the finger.

Excessive filling on the nail surface can cause pain

The first factor that causes acrylic nails to hurt on the first night is how a nail technician prepares the nail surface before the acrylic application.

He or she can either over-file or buff the natural nail surface that leads to either thinning the nail thickness or putting a small dent on the natural nail surface. You can feel right away if this is the case, especially if the nail technician is using a nail drill on your natural nail surface. You can feel the discomfort right then and it will get worse.

So it is the excessive drilling or buffing on your natural nails that can cause you to experience some pain later in the day.

If this is the case, you will find out later if an acrylic nail hurts when pressed.

Thick acrylics over natural nails can hurt

Thick acrylics can cause fingernails to warp or bend: too thick acrylics on your thin nails might change the normal shape of your nails and cause you to feel some pains.

Various chemical liquid components in acrylic nails can also cause pain.

If you have a low tolerance for acrylic nail products and do not know it yet, then it is possible that you will have soreness or pain as you have acrylic nails put on. Fortunately, this discomfort will be temporary. It should only last a few hours.

If you already know that acrylic nails will hurt you or cause discomfort for a few hours after you have them done, chances are you have a low tolerance for acrylic nails.

We are all different, and our immune systems react to a particular chemical product differently. In other words, some people will have a higher tolerance for acrylics than others. People with a low tolerance for acrylic products will experience some irritation temporarily.

Acrylic nails have been used commercially late 1970’s. Since then, these nail products have time to evolve and improve tremendously. Ease of use, durability, and safety features make acrylic nails a mature product. Still, it is a man-made chemical product. This means that acrylic nails are not for everyone.

Since manufacturers create acrylic nail products following their own criteria and specifications, no two acrylic nail products are the same.

Thin natural nails

The final cause that acrylic nails can hurt might be your own nails. If your natural nails are thin, two things can happen with acrylic nail application:

If your nails are wet for about 15 minutes, your nails will soften. This means that human nails are porous, not one solid piece. Liquids will pass through porous materials. So liquid acrylic nail products like bonding/dehydrator, primers, liquid monomers or nail glues that are applied excessively on top of the nail will seep down to the lower layer and will come in contact with blood vessels and nerve endings in your fingers.

If these liquids are not completely evaporated or dissipated, they will interact with the flesh and cause discomfort or pain until they are completely gone.

Natural nails are flexible. Thinner nails are even more so. When powder and liquid acrylics are mixed, 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.

This extra heat and shape bending force will hurt your fingernails until all the extra heat is dissipated and all the nerve endings are getting used to with the nail shape change.

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Should acrylic nails hurt?

Does it hurt to get acrylic nails? No, it does not. However, If your nails happen to hurt after you get acrylics, the pain can originate from one of the four factors:

  • Applying acrylics on an injured or broken nail.
  • Excessive preparation of the nail surface.
  • Acrylic nail product itself.
  • Applying acrylics on thin natural nails.

Why do acrylic nails hurt or sore the first day?

Many people usually get their acrylic nails done after the end of their workdays, typically from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Any pain or discomfort associated with an acrylic nail application will start a few hours later as your body is trying to either adjust or react to them.

From reading all four factors above, you now understand why acrylic nails hurt the first night.

How long will your nails hurt after getting acrylics?

Regardless of why acrylics hurt your nails provided your nails have no physical injury before an acrylic application, the pain should not last long.

The duration of the pain after acrylic nails could last up to three days. However, if the pain from acrylic nails does not subside after a day, they should be removed by soaking in acetone, not by a physical removal process like peeling or pulling.

Tips on how to stop acrylic nails from hurting

If your fingernails hurt or sore because of acrylic nails, follow the steps below, they should reduce your pains:

  • Soak your finger in cool water for 15 minutes to reduce blood flow, swelling, and pains in your fingernails.
  • Elevate your hands to slow blood flow to the affected fingers as you lay down.
  • Take some over-the-counter pain relief medicine before you go to bed.

If the pain or soreness does not subside the next day, you should have them removed by an experienced nail technician.

Also, read through this so you know what to do on your next acrylic nail appointment.

Tips to know before getting acrylic nails to prevent soreness.

No acrylic nails if your natural nails are injured:

It is best that the injured natural nails get some time to rest and heal before they are ready for acrylic nails. When? You might ask. The rule of thumb is the injured nails should stop bleeding or throbbing for at least two days.

Tell your nail technician to go easy on drilling or buffing:

Do let your nail technician beforehand that the acrylic nails hurts you the night you have them done so he or she will not over-file, drill, or buff your nail surface or avoid using an electric nail drill.

Nail drills are the main cause for thinning out or cutting the natural nail surface due to its high speed, powerful device if not used properly.

It is also easy to tell if a nail technician is proficient with his/her nail drill skills.

If you feel uneasy with the way your nail technician is handling an electric nail drill, you can politely ask the salon manager to give you a more experienced nail tech by letting the manager know that you will have pain caused by new acrylic nails at night.

Most managers who have been in the business for a while know of this situation and will happy to replace the nail technician with a more experienced one because they know a happy customer will become a regular customer.

If the manager is unable to replace a new technician for you, chances are there are no better-skilled nail technicians in that salon and the one who works on you is the best available. You have two options:

  1. Either let the nail technician finishes the acrylic nails and endure the pain later or
  2. Leave that salon and search for a better one.

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Choose your acrylic nail products:

To find out which acrylic nail product will not hurt you, the next time you get your acrylic nails done, you should ask for the brand of the product so you go through the process of elimination.

If a specific brand of product hurts you, then next time you will try product b, and so on until you discover a product that does not hurt you. Since typically each salon only carries one brand that they are comfortable using. You either can buy a sample product kit and ask your nail technician to use it on you or you might have to change salon.

This is a small price for pay for getting rid of the pain or discomfort you might endure later.

Have your acrylic nails done using a technique for thin natural nails:

Two things you can do to prevent pains from happening on your thin nails:

  1. Apply a thin acrylic layer: a thin acrylic layer will create less heat and exert less force on the nails. Therefore thin nails will not be subject to too much of either one.
  2. Wear shorter lengths: longer nails will require more acrylics to make them thicker and stronger at various stress points whereas shorter nails will require much less acrylic material and therefore your nails will be subject to less heat and less bending.


Having acrylic nails done should be a fun and positive experience. Now you know what and why acrylic nails can hurt the first night after it is applied and you can use this information in this article to prevent yourself from enduring unnecessary acrylic nail throbbing pain.

Where to get help if your nails hurt badly acrylic nails?

If your nails hurt late in the day and you can not call your doctor or you are too far from one and the pain bothers you so much, you can get help online and get the answer by chatting with one of the medical experts. You can send pictures of your nails’ conditions through text message and get an accurate assessment for your particular situation.

JUSTANSWER.COMOpens in a new tab. will connect you to a highly experienced dermatologists. For a nominal fee that is less than a doctor’s visit and no appointment needed, they can point you to the right action or treatment that will ease your pain.

If you nails hurt so badly, do not wait. You should consult with one of the dermatologists so they can give specific recommendations for your nails to prevent possible infection later.

It is a small price to pay for an expert’s consultation and infection prevention.

Disclosure: is supported by readers like you. When you purchase through links in our posts, we may earn an affiliate commission and we only recommend products or services that we like and all opinions expressed here are our own. Thank you. Read full privacy policy hereOpens in a new tab..

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Preserve you acrylic nail experience:

Whatever experience you have with acrylic nails, good or bad, chances are you enjoying your acrylic nails. If you do, do not let your acrylic nail experience disappear! Keep them forever by recording them through writing, take pictures, or videos using your smartphone. Learn the best way to safekeeping your acrylic nails experienceOpens in a new tab. today. Otherwise, it will be lost forever and you will not have anything to show and tell later. So start your nail diary today. You will be glad you did a year from now.

Cuticles itch after acrylic nails:

Want to know the causes that make your cuticles itchOpens in a new tab.? If your cuticles also itch after you have acrylics put on your nails, you can learn what the causes are and what you can do at home to reduce the itch so you can sleep.

Cuticles itch after a gel manicure:

In this related article, do your cuticles have a severe itch after you get a gel manicure? If you use any cuticle remover or softener product on your nails, this article is a must-read. It describes the major causes of itchy cuticle issuesOpens in a new tab. that could be avoided and a simple remedy to relieve the itch at home.

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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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