As more and more nail enhancements join the market, the questions surrounding acrylic nails have increased. Are acrylics safe? Do you need to stop getting them? Are acrylic nails bad for you? All of these concerns are valid. It’s so nice to have pretty nails, but most of us want to ensure we’re going about it in the right way- especially as new options are continually being introduced. It’s a bit of a stretch to deem acrylic nails “unsafe,” but they also aren’t necessarily always good for your nails. Your nails need to be cared for, and acrylics tend to give nails quite the beating. We have a few main concerns, which include the filing process, the harsh chemicals, and the increased risk of infection; although, acrylic nails definitely have their perks, so they may be worth it for you.
Acrylic Nail Risks
- The filing process. First and foremost, we have to address the filing done prior to putting on the acrylic. The natural nail is buffed and filed until it’s rough enough for the acrylic to successfully adhere. This step is necessary to the process, but it is harsh and harmful to the nail.
- The chemicals. It’s no secret that most nail enhancements are chalk full of chemicals, but the chemicals used in the acrylic process are particularly gnarly. Not only do they dry out the natural nail, but they can be irritating to the nail and the surrounding skin.
- The risk of infection. When an acrylic is applied to the nail, it can trap existing bacteria. This is fairly rare, but it is possible and is good to be aware of so that it can be avoided. As long as the hands and nails are properly cleaned before the acrylic is applied, you should be safe.
- The removal. The most damaging part of an acrylic manicure is removing it with harsh chemicals like acetone. There are many methods of removing acrylic nails. Some are safer than others but take longer to accomplish. There's a reason most people go to a nail salon to get their acrylics removed--it's tough to do!
Given that we’ve addressed the negative risks associated with acrylic nails, we can’t forget about all of the reasons acrylics have been loved for so long.
Benefits of Acrylic Nails
- They’re durable. Acrylics are definitely stronger than the natural nail, and that added strength is appealing for sure.
- They’re pretty. This is probably the biggest pull in favor of acrylics- people like the way they look! The look is the main purpose that acrylics are such a popular choice. They’re smooth, long lasting, and can add length if desired.
- They're versatile. Acrylic nails can be molded into 3D shapes, blended together, and used as accent colors.
When it comes to getting your nails done, there are a handful of routes you can take. Acrylics are a classic, but they can potentially cause harm to your nails if you use them too often. If you do cause damage, it's always good to know it's possible to repair the damage overtime with a little bit of extra care.
Overall, acrylic nails are considered a safe staple in the nail community and have been around for over twenty years now. Since acrylics do not need UV lights to cure, they're considered much less damaging to your nails than other long lasting nail color methods, such as gel polish.
What has been your experience using acrylic nails? Do you wear them often? Have you had any trouble with damaged nails? Let us know in the comments!