Dip powder nails also known as SNS nails are getting popular as a new type of artificial nail enhancement. It is supposed to be a safe product to use on nails but some people experience some pain on the nails after they have dip powder application.

Dip powder can hurt the fingernails if its chemical solutions are applied carelessly over the cuticles that either are pushed or cut back too far. These two combined factors will cause the liquid dip powder chemicals to penetrate the exposed soft tissues below the cuticles and irritate them.

What causes dip powder to hurt the nails?

Similar to other artificial nail enhancements, liquid dip powder solutions such as base coat, activator, and topcoat contain chemicals that can cause irritation. the level or severity depends on each user’s level of tolerance.

To make the matter worse, these chemical solutions do not dry out quickly at room temperature. Therefore, they will remain on your cuticles for sometime before completely evaporate away.

Is it normal for dip nails to hurt?

Any nail enhancement product should be safe to use when it comes to the market because manufacturers are supposed to work out all the potential safety issues.

Similarly, dip powder should not hurt the users. However, misuse and improper nail preparation such as over cut the cuticles will cause irritation and pain.

When does dip powder hurt your nails?

Dip powder will hurt your nails if you allow it to come in contact with the soft tissues under your cuticle lines. Like bleach, these dip powder chemicals will burn these soft tissues until they reach the nerve endings.

If this happens, it is when you start to feel the pain.

Why do your nails hurt after getting dip powder?

If you do not over-cut or push back your cuticles, your nails should not hurt after dip powder because these so-called thick, ugly-looking pieces of your skin prevent any chemicals from getting to the soft tissues inside. 

Specifically, cuticles over the nails are there for one reason: to protect the seal between the nail surface and the skin above it.

Some people who do dip powder at home like to clean their cuticles a little too much and this is where things start to go wrong.

When cuticles are cut too far and pushed back too deep, the seal between the nail surface and the cuticle above is broken, exposing the live, soft, thin skin issues that are no match for any type of harsh chemicals such as dip powder liquid solutions.

These chemicals will burn these young skin tissues and get deeper into the skin layers that contain nerve-endings.

This is why your dip powder hurts your nails.

People also help in making this matter worse. At the end of their dip powder session, without thoroughly wash and brush their hands and cuticles to completely remove any remain dip powder solutions, they apply cuticle oil to make their nails look great.

This cuticle oil will keep these harsh liquid chemicals on the soft skin tissues and cause more irritation or pain. 

How do I treat my nails after dip powder?

If your nails hurt after dip powder, then you know what causes it and why it happens.

Since you can not undo the cuticles that you cut or pull your cuticles back out, the only way you can relieve the pain is to remove all the dip powder solution that still remains on the nails as much as you possibly can.

Here is how you remove these dip powder solutions by washing your hands thoroughly.

What you need:

  1. One plastic container that could fit both hands
  2. Hot water (hot enough so you can soak your hands without burning your skin)
  3. One soft nail brush or toothbrush
  4. Dish soap or hand soap
  5. Hairdryer


  • Pour hot water into the container
  • Mix one tablespoon of soap well
  • Soaking both hands in the water
  • Try to move the fingers around so the hot, soapy water will remove the cuticle oil.
  • If you can tolerate it, gently brush each nail to remove the cuticle oil and any dip powder chemicals even more.
  • Do this for all ten nails for at least ten minutes or until the pain subsides.
  • Now wash your nails under fast-running warm water from a faucet. Make sure you let the water run over each nail for at least one minute or until you feel the pain is tolerable.
  • Dry your hands completely with a dry towel because you will use a hairdryer next.
  • With a hairdryer on a low speed and low heat setting, warm up your nails so any remaining chemicals will evaporate away. If it gets too hot, move your hand a little farther from the hairdryer.

Your nails now should not hurt as bad as it was before.

In case the pain happens late at night, you can take some over-the-counter pain relief so you can sleep.

Hopefully, your dip powder nails will be better in the morning.

How to prevent dip nails from hurting?

By now, you can probably guess it.

  • Do not over-cut your cuticles and push them back too far: you now know that cuticles are an important part of your nails, they protect the nails from infection by providing a seal between the upper skin and the nail below.
  • Refrain from applying cuticle oil: no matter how tempting it is, you should wait 24 hours before using any cuticle oil. If your fingers look so dry or chalky, you can apply some hand lotion on the skin on your hands and fingers, but none on your cuticles.

Where to get help if your nails hurt badly after dip 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.

Do your dip nails hurt after you get them done at a nail salon?

If you do your dip nails at home, you should not have any pain at all because more likely that you do not use a power tool or an electric nail file to prep your nails. However, at many nail salons, nail technicians do use them to roughen up your nails and clean your excess cuticles. If he or she is grinding too much on your nails, this will cause pain later.

An electric nail file could cause pain:

Actually, it is not its fault but the person who does not use it properly, he or she could cause you pain.

An electric nail file is a powerful rotary power tool. it could cut or file materials that are much harder than your nails.

If a nail technician does not have good skills in handling an electric nail file to work on customers’ nails. he or she will unknowingly thin your nails during a nail preparation step.

Furthermore, nail drill manufacturers came up with all different kinds of drill bits to prep the nails and clean or trim excess cuticles. These tools try to help people removing cuticles and skip a good old manicure which hands are soaked in warm water in a manicure bowl or a few minutes to soften them prior to trimming with a pair of cuticle nippers.

However, with improper handling and training, these nail drill bits will cause damage to your cuticles and thinning out your poor, defenseless nails.

These nail drill bits will run at high speed and they will cut into your nails without you feeling anything, only sometime later they start to feel sore.

And this is more likely the reason your dip nails hurt.

How to tell if a nail tech is heavy-handed or miss-uses her nail drill on your nails?

During your dip nail service, if you feel any discomfort or pain, ask your nail tech to stop doing it in a polite way by saying that your nails are thin and they are sensitive. This will save them from unnecessary thinning and you from the agony of dealing with thin nails splitting or breaking later on.

Even if you do not feel anything at first, discreetly observe how gentle and proficient your nail tech handling her nail drill. Now you know how powerful a nail drill is, you can prevent this by ask her to be gentle on your thin nails.

If this nail tech appears to be the cause of your dip nail pain due to miss handling her nail drill on your nails, go to a better nail tech or another nail salon.

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How to do dip nails so they will not hurt

One of the advantages of dip nails is they do not require a lot of nail prep other than clean and dry nail surfaces. You can test how long dip nails last on your nails with minimal of nail prep by try this method:

  • Get a regular manicure where your cuticles are softened in warm water and trimmed by a pair of cuticle nippers, not a special cuticle removal drill bit.
  • Apply dehydrator and pH balance solution and let dry for about 2 minutes. A fan will make your nails dry faster. Why? you ask. All liquid solutions, even a dehydrator need time to evaporate away from your nails. If your nails are still wet, you will not have an optimal adhesion.
  • Gently roughen up your nail surface using only a clean buffer on the fine side with a few passes.
  • Now you can start your dip nail process.

Unless your nails are super oily or you are hard on your nails, these dip nails should last for two weeks, without any pain.

Happy nail dipping with no pain.

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