One of the common issues that are associated with acrylic nails is the burning sensation during the application.

The burning sensation that occurs during an acrylic nail application is caused by two things: excessive primer used on nails and is not allowed to dry completely or too much acrylic powder applied on thin nails.

Too much acrylic nail primer can cause nails to burn

Primers are a necessary chemical component in acrylic nail application. They are used to prepare or etch the nail surface before acrylics are applied to ensure a strong bond. There are two kinds of acrylic nail primers, non-acidic and acidic.

Non-acidic primers are gentler on nails and skin. They create a good bond between natural nails and acrylics. These non-acid primers are used on people who are sensitive to acid-based primers.

acidic primers are made with methacrylic acid and are frequently used in nail salons and preferred by many nail technicians due to their superior quality that creates a much stronger bond between natural nails and acrylics.

How to tell if your nails burn from primers

The primer should be applied or brushed sparingly onto nail surfaces and let dry completely right before acrylic application.

If excessive primer is used, it will saturate the nail surface and go into the cuticles which are thin layers of skin. If cuticles are sensitive to strong chemicals or nails are thin, this overly saturated primer is stuck between the nail surface and the acrylics so it will continue to etch the nail surface. This ongoing etching will cause a person to feel a burning sensation on the nails after acrylics are applied.

Furthermore, if excessive primer is used that it floods the cuticle area and it is not allowed to dry out completely before acrylics are applied, the acrylic liquid will prevent this primer from drying away from the cuticles and it will continue to interact with this thin, and sensitive skin. This additional chemical burn from acrylic nail primer will only increase the burning sensation.

The burning sensation from acrylic nail primer will not go away unless it will completely dry out. This means you will experience this discomfort even after the acrylic nail application for several hours, even days. More often, this burning sensation will turn into a severe itch later.

Thick acrylics on nails can cause a burning sensation

When the acrylic powder is mixed with acrylic liquid to make acrylic nails, they go through a chemical reaction that produces heat, and this chemical reaction is called exothermic. If you noticeably experience the spike of heat energy on your nails, there are two explanations.

Your nails are thin: if you have thin nails, you will experience a burning sensation even if there is a little heat generated by the acrylics because it will easily pass through the nails and affect the nerve endings below.

Too much acrylic powder applied on nails: if too much acrylic powder is applied to your nails this large amount of generated heat will quickly pass through even thick natural nails.

How to tell if your nails burn from thick acrylics

You can easily tell if your nails burn from acrylics if you have a burning sensation right after acrylics are applied to your nails. The heat spike that is generated by the acrylic exothermic reaction will transfer directly to your nail surface and causes you to feel it right away.

Even though this heat energy will dissipate quickly in a few seconds and you will not feel the burn anymore, however, sometimes your nails get so hot that it catches you by surprise.

How to stop burning sensation after acrylic nail primer

You can avoid a burning sensation from acrylic nail primer by doing these two simple things:

  1. Use primer sparingly: do not saturate the nail surfaces with primer. If primer floods the cuticle lines, you are using it too much.
  2. Let it dry completely before acrylic application: liquid primer will continue to etch your nails and seep down to your nail beds. By giving enough time for the primer to dry off, there will be no more harsh liquid chemicals on the nails to react with your nails so you can stop primer burning after acrylic nails.

One visual way to tell if the primer is completely dry is your nail surface appears chalky white and matte. If they are shiny and wet, do not apply acrylics.

One way I can avoid burning sensation after acrylic nail primer on my customers is to apply it on the nails right after I prep one hand and use a small fan, preferably a heater fan to dry while I prep the fingers on the other hand. A few extra minutes of drying will allow all the primer to dry completely so the primer burn on skin or cuticles is prevented.

If your nails continue to burn even a few hours after acrylic application and it is usually late into the night when you are at home, this burn will turn into an itch and will require you to do more to get rid of this burn/itch from acrylic primer misuse. I wrote a complete instruction on how to treat this itch or burn at home. You can read more about it hereOpens in a new tab..

Have you ever wondered why most Vietnamese nail techs are skinny? If you are overweight, you can lose this stubborn extra weight for good using this recent AMAZING DISCOVERYOpens in a new tab. from Vietnam.

How to stop burning sensation after acrylic nails

If you experience a heat spike right after acrylics are applied to your nails and the burning sensation is severe, you can stop this burn by quickly spray alcohol or water onto the affected nail. Either liquid will help dissipate the heat energy away from your nail and the burning sensation will subside.

Consider wearing shorter acrylic nails, especially if you have thin nails because they will require less acrylic powder as opposed to longer ones.

If you have thin nails, expect to have some heat spike and burning sensation on some of your nails, however, it will go away in a few seconds.

One super easy way to make fat fingers thinner. Find out how.Opens in a new tab.

You might be also interested in:

What causes fat feet: how to make your chubby feet thinner.Opens in a new tab.


Acrylic nails are made with strong chemical solutions and people who use them have different levels of tolerance to them so it is hard to tell who will have a strong reaction and who will not.

It is normal to have some low burning sensation when you get acrylic nails, but it should stop momentarily.

If you experience an ongoing burning sensation from using acrylic nails that linger hours after your acrylic nail application, chances are you still have some primer on your nails and skin and it will also make you itch, you should try to get rid of the primer so it will not aggravate your nails and cuticles further. Find out how you can stop the burning and itching sensationOpens in a new tab..

Want to know the best nail salon near you that can do great acrylic nails?

There are five things you need to knowOpens in a new tab. to tell if a nail salon is worth a visit.

Notice concerning medical entries:

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.

Disclosure: NailsFaq.com 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..

Recent Posts