If you are wondering how to heal nails after acrylics, this guide is for you.
Acrylic nails are popular with many women who want longer, stronger, sexier nails. But over time, acrylics can harm your natural nails – especially if they’re not applied or removed correctly.
When I first got acrylics I was so excited to have long, strong seemingly unbreakable nails. But after several months of having acrylics and refilling every few weeks, my natural nails began to feel weak and sore. When I finally got my acrylics removed, my nails underneath were yellow, dry, and brittle.
I dove into research mode and discovered that I wasn’t the only one with this problem. It turns out that damaged nails after acrylics are a pretty common issue.
In an effort to help other nail lovers, I’ll share the remedies that worked for me after I got some expert advice from a dermatologist and my manicurist.
How to heal sore nails after acrylics
Common issues people experience with long-term acrylic nail application are soreness, inflammation, and infection.
PRO TIP: Keeping your nails short is a must to avoid further damage, and please, don’t use an e-file!
Keep reading to find out how to heal sore nails after acrylics getting your removed with these solutions and more.
Keep your nails short
If your nails are sore, it’s best to keep them short.
Long nails can put extra pressure on your nail beds and exacerbate the pain. Once your nails have healed, you can gradually start growing them again. This will reduce the chances of your nails breaking or causing further damage to the nail plate.
Keeping short nails means that you should trim the nails and don’t put on any artificial nails, including acrylic extensions, gel, any type of acrylic overlay on natural nails, Gel-X nails, dip powder nails, etc.
Stick to your nails’ natural shape
During the healing process, avoid trying to force your nails into a new shape – whether long and pointy or short and square – this will only aggravate the pain.
The best way to “stick to your nails’ natural shape” is by allowing the nail to grow without artificial nails.
Use a stainless steel cuticle pusher
Just because you want to be off acrylics doesn’t mean you should abandon your manicure routine altogether. On the contrary, it’s important to continue caring for your nails to heal appropriately.
Use a stainless-steel cuticle pusher to push back your cuticles gently. This step will help reduce the chances of infection and help your nails look healthier.
When using a cuticle pusher, be sure to only go along the edge of the nail and never under the nail bed.
Apply cuticle oil
Again, proper nail care is essential for healing sore nails after acrylics. In addition, cuticle oil helps to keep your nails and cuticles moisturized, which is vital for preventing infections.
Massage a small amount into your nail beds and cuticles to apply the oil. You can do this once or twice a day, as needed.
I like to use jojoba oil because it resembles our skin’s natural sebum (oil). Other good options include almond oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil.
Don’t use an e-file
An e-file is a power tool that manicurists use to file down acrylics. If you’re doing your nails at home, avoiding using an e-file altogether is best. These power tools can damage your nails if not used correctly.
If you must use an e-file, ensure it’s set to a low speed, and be careful not to file too deeply into the nail. Investing in a good quality e-file with different attachments for different purposes is also a good idea.
How to take off acrylic nails without using an e-file, I recommend soaking your nails in acetone for 10-15 minutes. It will help to break down the acrylics so they can be easily removed.
Soak your nails in olive oil and lemon juice
Olive oil and lemon juice are classic home remedies for many issues, including sore nails. Combining these two ingredients will help moisturize and nourish your nails. Lemon juice will help to fight any infection.
- Mix equal parts of olive oil and lemon juice to use this remedy.
- Soak your nails in the mixture for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
- Repeat this process once or twice a day until your nails have healed.
This remedy may not be for everyone, as some people are allergic to citrus fruits. If you have allergies, test the lemon juice on a small skin area before using it on your nails.
Switch to traditional nail polish
While acrylics and gel nails may be all the rage, they are not for everyone.
If you want to give your nails a break, switch to traditional nail polish for a while.
If you want manicured nails for a special occasion and can’t bear the thought of going with your naked nails, try temporary press on nails with cool nail art.
There are many different brands and nail polish colors to choose from, so you’re sure to find something you like. If you’re worried about your nails looking dull, there are plenty of options for shiny and sparkly nail polish.
Traditional nail polish is much easier on your nails than acrylics or gel, so it’s a good idea to use it while your nails heal. Once your nails have recovered, you can always go back to using artificial nails if you want.
Watch your diet
The reason your nails are damaged in the first place may be because you lack certain nutrients. So to help your nails heal, you need to ensure you’re getting enough of the right nutrients.
For example, you need iron to prevent anemia, which can cause your nails to become brittle and break easily. It would be best if you also had biotin for healthy nails, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamins are also a critical part of a healthy diet for nails.
You can get most of the nutrients your nails need by eating a well-balanced diet. Take a lot of dark leafy greens, for example, which are high in iron. You should also eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.
You may need to take supplements like Biotin if you’re not getting enough nutrients from your diet. Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to see if there are any specific supplements you should take for healthy nails.
Drinking plenty of water is essential for your overall health, but it’s also critical for healthy nails. When you’re dehydrated, your nails can become brittle and dry. This issue makes them more susceptible to damage.
To avoid dehydration, ensure you’re drinking eight glasses of water daily. You can also get hydrated by eating foods high in water, such as fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, moisturize your nails and cuticles with a hydrating cream or oil. This tip will help to keep your nails from drying out and breaking.
See a doctor
If your nails are severely damaged and none of the above home remedies are working, it’s time to see a doctor. A doctor can prescribe medication to help your nails heal.
Your doctor may also recommend surgery to repair damaged nails. However, this is usually a last resort and only used in severe cases.
How to prevent future damage
Now that you learned how to heal nails after acrylics, you’ll want to take steps to prevent future damage. First, take a break from getting acrylics, gel, or dip powder nails. If you do, make sure to take a break every few months to allow your nails to recover.
Be careful when doing activities that could damage your nails, like gardening, or cooking. Wear gloves when necessary to protect your nails. And keep your nails trimmed and filed. Long nails are more likely to break than short ones.
How long does it take for nails to heal after taking off acrylics?
The healing period varies for everyone, but it typically takes about 3-4 months for nails to recover from damage caused by acrylics. However, you can start seeing an improvement in your nails’ health within a few weeks.
Remember that your nails don’t have to get sore or break after acrylics. How well you care for them while they’re artificial and care for them after taking the acrylics off makes a big difference.
Ensure to remove the acrylics after every 3 to 4 weeks. The artificial nails will usually come off on its own after this time frame. Gently file away the excess acrylics until you’re left with your natural nail.
Takeaways on how to heal damaged nails after acrylics
So, how do you heal damaged nails after acrylics? To avoid damage, be gentle when removing the acrylics and take steps to care for your nails afterward.
But if your nails are already damaged, don’t worry! There are plenty of things you can do to help them heal. These include changing your diet, staying hydrated, and using a nail-strengthening serum.
Most importantly, be patient!
It takes time for nails to heal and recover from damage. But with some care, your nails will be healthy and strong in no time. And if the soreness persists, you probably have an infection, and it would be best to seek help from a dermatologist.
Kim is an expert, with over 7 years in the nail art and makeup industry. She is an avid DIY nail artist and now contributing writer at BeautyStack.