The Reality of Artificial Nails: What You Need to Know Before You Get Them

If you’re like most women, you probably spend a lot of time on your nails. You might even have an Instagram account with a million followers focused on manicures and pretty hands. After all, there’s just something so magical about long, painted fingernails!

If you also love the look of artificial nails—and are tired of them coming off from things like typing, working out at the gym, or even just rinsing your hair in the shower—then you might be thinking about getting a set of artificial acrylic nails. They’re super easy to put on and keep on for weeks at a time. They also help protect your nails from breaking when they’re exposed to things like household cleaning chemicals or gardening tools. When it comes to artificial nails, many people think they have to choose between being able to take them off whenever they want or having them glued onto their natural nail bed so that they stay there permanently. But that doesn’t have to be the case!

Here are some things you should know before getting artificial nails…

Types of Nails

There are two types of nails on the market today: acrylic and gel. Each one comes in a natural fingernail shape, as well as a variety of colors. Acrylic is the most popular choice for nail enhancements. It’s the most durable and long-lasting option, and it’s also the easiest to apply. However, you shouldn’t get acrylic if you have any allergies to acrylonitrile, which is a chemical used to make acrylic stronger. Gels are the next most popular option. They’re applied like acrylic and are also long-lasting. But unlike acrylic, they don’t require UV light to cure them because they’re made with methyl methacrylate, or MMA, which doesn’t require a light source. These are applied with a brush and are cured under an LED light. They’re also the most fragile option, so they’re less resistant to things like household chemicals that acrylic and gel nails are more resistant to.

  • Acrylic

One of the biggest questions people have about acrylic nails is whether or not they’re safe. And the answer is yes—but only if you choose a reputable salon and have them applied by a trained cosmetologist who knows what he or she is doing. The biggest risk from acrylic nails occurs when they’re applied poorly. If the salon doesn’t sanitize its tools properly, bacteria can get trapped under the acrylic and cause an infection.

There are also risks if acrylic nails are applied too close to your natural nail bed, as bacteria can travel between the two and cause an infection there, too. This is especially true if you have long natural nails and they’re not filed down before the acrylic is applied.

  • Gels

Gels are applied over your natural nails—not underneath them like acrylic. This is what makes them a bit safer than acrylic. Since the gel is applied on top of the natural nail, any bacteria that get trapped there will be easier to remove.

Gels can also come off much easier than acrylic, so if you need to remove them for any reason, you’ll probably have an easier time taking them off without damaging your natural nails.

Possible Problems

One potential problem with acrylic nails is that they can damage your natural nails. When you have acrylic nails applied, it’s important to file your nails so that they don’t become too long. If they get too long, they can get caught in things and may break. If they break too many times, you can end up with weak or brittle natural nails. Another potential issue is that acrylic nails will make your nails grow more slowly and be less resistant to breakage.

So you’ll have to be extra careful when filing your natural nails and avoiding things like overuse of household cleaning products, gardening tools, and anything else that may be too abrasive for your natural nails.

  • Bacterial or fungal infections

There’s another bacterial infection that’s more likely to happen if you get acrylic nails:

Paronychia. This is an infection that occurs when bacteria from your hands travels up from your nail bed and into the skin surrounding your fingers. It’s more likely to happen if you don’t sanitize your hands after going to the bathroom, which can transfer bacteria from your hands to your nails. Paronychia can cause redness, swelling, and pain around your nails. If left untreated, it can become an embedded infection, which means it travels down into the nail bed and can be harder to treat. If you experience any of these symptoms around your nails or have any other signs of an infection, make sure to see your doctor right away.

  • Weakened nails

Finally, acrylic nails can also weaken your natural nails. This is especially true if you get acrylic applied to your thumbnail. The acrylic may need to be bonded to your natural nail, which can weaken and damage it. Strong, healthy nails not only look great but also help us perform daily tasks like opening doors and carrying things. So it’s important to protect your natural nails, especially if you have long ones that can be more easily damaged.

What You Can Do?

If you get acrylic nails, there are a few things you can do to protect your natural nails. First, make sure you clean your hands often to remove any bacteria that can travel from your hands to your nails. You can also use hand sanitizer to kill bacteria. Next, make sure to file your natural nails regularly so they don’t grow too long. If they do grow too long, you can use nail clippers or a nail file to keep them trim. You can also use a non-acetone remover to gently file your nails down. If you get acrylic nails, you should also make sure to file them down every two weeks or so to keep them from growing too long. If they do grow too long, you can use a cuticle nipper to trim them down.


Artificial nails are a fun way to add some pizzazz to your look. But when you’re thinking about getting acrylic nails, make sure you know the risks and what you can do to protect your natural nails from damage. Although acrylic nails may seem like a convenient way to quickly get long, beautiful nails, they can come at a cost.

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