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Acrylic Nail Injuries: The Ugly Side of Beauty

The extends we go for beauty! Imagine, you just got an acrylic coating on your nails. You are all set to attend an upcoming event. But, the allure doesn’t last long. You see infection, bleeding, pain in your nails soon after.

So, what causes acrylic nail injuries?

Acrylic binds very tightly with your real nails. Any irregularities while ripping them, infections penetrating the narrow space in between, moisture seeping through are some of the many causes that can cause acrylic nail injuries. By handling them properly you can easily prevent them.

This article will give you a detailed description on this sort of nail injuries. So, let’s start without any further delay!

Table of Content

What Are Acrylic Nails?

Acrylic is a paste-like substance made from a combination of liquid monomer and powder polymer. The paste is very precisely placed on top of the nails. After that, it is given the desired shape, thickness and allowed to rest to harden.


Acrylics have been used for decades, to elongate nails, give them a particular shape, provide various designs. But, acrylic nails have also earned a reputation for their harmful sides and hazards. Suffering from acrylic nail injuries? You are most likely not alone.

Causes of Acrylic Nail Injury

It’s quite a shame if the very thing that was responsible for enhancing your beauty ends up damaging or harming your original self. A few factors responsible for acrylic nail injuries include:

Duration Before Filling

When you go to a parlor to get your nails done, the technicians are likely to tell you of a specific period, commonly 1 month after which you have to come back and get your acrylics filled.

So, what does it mean? Well, your original nails are growing below your acrylics. You can only keep working using the acrylics for a fixed period, after which you have to get them filled or the excess growth can cause injury.

Poorly Applied Acrylic

If the acrylic is not placed properly, that is if there remains a space between the paste and your original nails, then the space can be an abode for infectious agents and even water.

Also, poorly filled acrylics might get attached or tangled to various objects which might injure your nails when you rip them off.


Dragging Nails

Even if the acrylics are placed properly if you drag them through a rough surface, the resultant friction could result in unwanted ripping of nails and injury.


As mentioned previously, improper application of acrylics can leave a gap between the coating and the nails. Moisture seeps in through those spaces, a perfect place for the growth of fungus, other pathogens. The resultant infection can even spread to your skin and cause various problems.

Injury While Ripping the Acrylic

The acrylic coating binds very compactly with your nails. As such, proper lubrication has to be ensured before ripping them off. Ripping them off on your own without precautions can lead to injury to your nails.

Long-term Usage

It’s necessary to keep an interval of a few months, every time you decide to use nail products. Usage of artificial color chronically leads to damage to their nails and it needs some time to heal.  So, ensure your nails get the proper time for healing before you apply another coating.

Unhygienic Practices

Irregular maintenance of hygiene practices is always a welcome sign for infectious agents. Not treating the coating as part of your body and using them haphazardly as extensions, can very well make them a habitable place for the growth of fungus.

Management and Treatment of Acrylic Nail Injuries

Are your fingers bleeding after the removal of acrylics? Are you seeing bloodstain under the coating? Acrylic nail injuries? Here’s a short guide to managing such a condition along with the treatment.


There are certain ways to manage your acrylic nail injuries. Take some time to go through them: 

Assess the damage

It’s necessary to ascertain the extent of damage to your nails. If your nail has only ripped off halfway, you may not be able to assess the total damage done. Lift off the acrylic coating slowly and gently. 

If there’s is pain, it denotes that the acyclic coating has removed a part of your natural nail with it. If there’s also the presence of bleeding, it indicates that your nail is damaged.

Things To Do If Your Natural Nail is Affected

If your natural nail gets broken or is hanging due to improper ripping of acrylic, you might wanna get expert help if you decide on gluing the broken piece together. Though, doing such raises a chance of infection in the zone between the acrylic coating and your nails.

Manage Ripped-off Nails

First off, it’s essential to ensure the proper dryness of your nails. You can use a blow dryer to ensure there’s no moisture content in between your nails and coating.

If your nails get ripped off from your skin, then it’s much wiser to completely take off the acrylic and let your nails grow to their original size and thickness. Using chemicals can increase the risk of damage and then you would have to rip off the damaged area anyway. 

Also, your acrylic coating will last longer if your nails are healthy.

Treatment Modality

The saying, “ Prevention Is Better Than Cure”, is quite applicable in this scenario. However, treatment of acrylic nail injuries is pretty much symptomatic. 

If there’s bleeding from your nails, apply antiseptic, get the proper dressing, and follow your doctor’s advice. If you suspect fungal infections, it’s better to get a consultation and follow the treatment methods. 


Exercising proper precautions during application and usage of fingers after getting an acrylic coating and also getting them removed under experts’ supervision are of vital importance to prevent any acrylic injury from happening.

A guide for removal of acrylic coating is given below:

Tools Needed

  • Soap And Water
  • Disinfectant: Topical Antibiotic and Waterproof Band-Aids should be kept ready 
  • Moisturizer
  • Nail Cutter 
  • Lubricants


Before starting the procedure ensure proper sterilization of all the necessary tools by dipping them in disinfectant. Its also advised to burn the edges of the nail cutter for a few seconds and then rapidly cool it for ensuring proper sterilization.

Assess your nails properly, look for any ends that are still attached to your natural nail. Gently try to lift off the coating from those edges. Do not try to force your way while ripping them, apple gentle pressure.

Cut the edges of the nail to as small as you can get. Doing such, will weaken the components of the acrylic and make them easier to remove.

The acrylic nail should be gently clipped off. You may be tempted to apply some force here but remember, your nails are very fragile and will injure even from the slightest of pressure.

If you find the coating very thick, you have to file it down by rubbing it to loosen the coating. If even filing isn’t enough to get the coating off, you might have to apply acetone to loosen the coating. 

A few tips to be exercised while using acetone includes:

  • Acetone is a very strong chemical agent which can cause damage to your nails and skin. Be very cautious while using it.
  • Ensure proper moisturization with vaseline and use it in a well-ventilated room.
  • Assess your injury before dipping your fingers into an acetone solution. It’s not wise to dip an open wound into an acetone solution, is it?
  • Only an intact nail bed is suitable for acetone usage.
  • Use gloves on your other hand and rub away the coating in the solution until it easily peels away.

Other Preventive Measures

Filing of Natural Nails: As you might have understood already, the acrylic coating is basically an external coating on top of your natural nails. To ensure no damage or breakage of your natural nails, ensure the structure of your nails is in par with the coating you are giving.

Now, the process of modifying the edges of your natural nails is, “filing”.  It uses an instrument known as a file to shape the edges in the desired shape by rubbing action.

Prevention of Fungal Infection: Before and while getting your coating, ensure a few hygiene measures to make sure there’s no room for water to seep in and cause the growth of pathogens. These includes:

  • Wash your fingers and nails properly before the procedure. Make sure to get the space in between your nails and skin.
  • Brush the area of the nail you are gonna work on.
  • Dry your nails properly. This step is of vital importance. Use a blow dryer and get all moistures out of your nails.
  • You can use topical antifungal creams as prophylactic measures.

Take care of your coating: Try treating your coating as part of your natural nails instead of an extension. Oftentimes, women use their coating to do jobs such as opening cans, getting in narrow spaces. 

You will find that doing such, will likely get your coating stuck and when you try to pull through, you are gonna rip off the coating and also damage your natural nails in the process. So, exercise caution.

Also, keep them waterproof at all times and away from chemicals.

Get New Coating: It’s better to change your acrylic coating after a few months. If you keep the same coating for a prolonged period, the natural shine of your nails will gradually be damaged and also the components of your nails will suffer.

So, get a coating, take them off after the recommender period, give your nails a breathing period of one or two months ensuring proper moisturization. Then go to your parlor and get a second coating. Never compromise on your natural nails for something artificial.

Care of Surrounding skin: The usage of acrylics and other chemicals on your nails can make the skin surrounding them dry and subject to tear. Hence, ensure care of the surrounding skin by using moisturizer and cleanliness.


What damage can Acrylics Cause to my nails?

The usage of acrylics, can make your natural nails thin, brittle, parched. It makes your naturally shining nails very pale in comparison.

Also, any abnormality while applying color, taking them off, or general use, can cause internal bleeding, fungal infections, breaking of nails among others.

Can my acrylic nails rip my natural nails off?

Yes, irregular usage, not exercising caution, and overall lack of care, can break your coating and its underlying natural nails. You may also break your nails while taking the coating off.

How long does a nail bed injury take to heal? What should I do during this period?

A typical nail bed injury can take somewhere between 7-10 days to heal.

During this period, ensure your nails are kept dry at all times. Any seeping of moisture can lead to fungal infection. Don’t be tempted to apply acrylic coating or use acetone during this period.

How do I know if my acrylic nail is infected?

You will experience symptoms such as: 

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Irregular Discharge

My Acrylic is not coming off. What can I do?

Sometimes, your acrylics might stick together with your nails in a way that it doesn’t come off easily. To get them to come off, cautiously use acetone following the proper guidelines. Then, file your nails to the desired shape and get any unwanted substances off them.

Are Acrylic Nails Supposed to hurt?

It’s normal to experience some degree of itching, discomfort for a few days after getting a coating. But, if your nails hurt or you see blood, discharge coming off it, take it seriously. Consult your doctor and get the required attention.

When should I visit a doctor for Acrylic Nail Injury?

Its best to visit a doctor if you experience: 

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Fever

Final Words

The use of acrylics as a coating on nails might seem quite safe to most but beware! acrylic nail injuries are very much common among most masses. But, it’s also quite preventable by following some very minor and easy precautions.

So, the next time you go to get your nails done, prepare your nails by cleaning, moisturizing them. Don’t take your coating for granted, avoid rough usage of them, keep them free from infectious agents and give your nails a rest period before the next coating.

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