Is Acrylics Safe for Your Nails? Experts Discuss

Is Acrylics Safe for Your Nails? Experts Discuss ...

Regular manicures are wonderful and all, but if you want longer nails that can carry more nail art and not sassily click clack on your keyboard, you may require the help of a protective coating or extension of some sort, and acrylics are a classic option.

Acrylics: How Are They Applied?

What Are the Differences Between Acrylics and Gel Nails?

Builder gels and gel polishes are popular enhancements that are quite similar to acrylics: They are similar chemically and all harden the nails and add thickness. Acrylic hardens on its own without any additional equipment, but it sets and hardens on its own.

Acrylics are also more resilient than gels, although they are less likely to chip and crack, causing more pain and bloodshed than your natural nail. Gels, on the other hand, are more flexible (like a natural nail) and therefore, they bend with your nail to absorb shocks like those.

Is Acrylics Safe for Your Nails?

Now for the truth: Acrylics may have a bad reputation, but King claims that they arent necessarily harmful if they arent properly applied and removed. This can result in thin and painful nail areas like the ring shapes on your nails, which are more likely to occur if your natural nail is too large.

Dr. Dana Stern, M.D., is a dermatologist and nail specialist who specializes in acrylic treatments. Symptoms include immediate burning or pain followed by subsequent inflammation, redness, and even blistering and lifting of the nail off the nail bed.

Stern explains that a delayed hypersensitivity reaction occurs in someone who has been repeatedly exposed. Over time, the immune system learns to recognize and respond to that chemical, and so the smallest drop or exposure can send the reaction into a full inflammatory cascade. Technicians themselves and those with eczema or who tend to have a compromised skin barrier are at greater risk of these kinds of reactions, according to Stern.

Be careful not to use acrylics to conceal or ignore nail imperfections. The nail is a window into our health, and so covering the nail impairs our ability to see if there is an infection, according to Stern. When you see your board-certified dermatologist for an annual skin check, go polish and acrylic free.

What Should Be Been Done If Acrylics Are Not Removed Safely?

MMA acrylics will become gummy after being soaked, while EMAs will flake off, according to King, and Stern recommends washing your nails and cuticles with a barrier lotion before bathing.

All of the experts advise against peeling off or otherwise forcibly removing acrylics. Run! King warns. That's the worst thing you can do for your nails because it's ripping off layers of your natural nail. Surface irregularities, white patches, bumps, and grooves may be caused by aggressive removal.

When you wear acrylics, you must always take care of your cuticles. Stern recommends using a cuticle oil or ointment regularly. You should be fine to enjoy your gorgeous mani.


Chelsea King, a Los Angeles-based manicurist and nail artist, is a well-known artist.

Brittney Boyce, a well-known nail artist and the founder of Nails of Los Angeles, is the founder of the Nails of Los Angeles.

Dermatologist and nail specialist Dr. Dana Stern, M.D., lives in New York.

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