Do Acrylic Nails Ruin Your Natural Nails?

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Discover whether or not acrylic nails ruin your natural nails.

If you get acrylic nails or are looking to start getting acrylic nails, then I am sure you have questioned whether or not acrylic nails ruin your nails. Acrylic nails always look nice on the surface and are one of the most popular types of manicures, but it is hard to know what is going on underneath.

It is essential to take care of your hands and nails as they are a part of your body used for everything, so you need to keep them in the best condition, including knowing what your manicure is doing to them.

So, do acrylic nails ruin your nails? No acrylic nails do not ruin your nails. However, you do need to be careful with acrylic nails and make sure you take extra care of your hands and nails; otherwise, certain factors can lead to damage. 

In this post, I’ll be sharing what can cause acrylic nails to damage your nails, and I’ll also be sharing a few do’s and don’ts of what and what not to do with acrylic nails.

Do acrylic nails ruin your nails?

The simple answer is no; acrylic nails do not ruin your nails if applied and maintained correctly. However, like anything else, if they are not looked after correctly, it can cause damage to your natural nails. Most of the time, the damage caused to your nails is caused by your own actions, whether that’s the technician or yourself; people rather than the nails mainly cause the damage.

Having acrylic nails isn’t as simple as having a pretty manicure and taking nice photos of them; they require a lot of maintenance and upkeep to keep them looking nice and healthy. You need to be delicate with them, take care of them, and go the extra mile to protect them. There’s no point in having a nice manicure if your nails underneath are damaged and weak.

What causes acrylic to ruin your nails?

A few things can cause acrylic nails to ruin your nails; here are the main reasons.

Having acrylic nails on too much – Having acrylic nails on consistently can weaken your natural nails. Even if your acrylic nails are done perfectly each time, they can still wear down your nails. When acrylic nails are applied, your natural nails need to be a rough surface, so they are filed down, which gets rid of the top layers of your nails that are there to protect them. Also, acrylic and the other products used have chemicals that can also harm your nails.

You need to allow your nails to breathe to allow them time to repair and rehydrate to ensure they stay strong. It is advised that after 3 months of continuous wear, you should take the acrylic off and give your nails a break.

If you see signs of damage like white patches on your natural nails or they keep breaking before the recommended 3 months, then take the acrylic off before. The break should be 2 to 4 weeks to ensure they have enough time to repair fully. This is also alongside making sure you get regular fills and maintaining your manicure correctly.

They weren’t done correctly – Unfortunately, there are cases where acrylic nails are applied incorrectly and have caused damage. There are a few ways technicians can do your nails that will cause damage, one being over filing. When prepping the nail, acrylic needs a rough nail bed to adhere properly, which is achieved by filing the nail.

Overfilling is a common problem, and although it doesn’t lead to damaged nails directly, it causes a thin nail plate. A thin nail plate can lead to further issues like your nails easily cracking and becoming brittle.

An inexperienced nail technician could also apply the acrylic wrong. For example, they could apply too much acrylic. Applying a thick layer of acrylic is another improper way of applying acrylic that can cause damage to your natural nails.

A thick layer of acrylic can be very heavy for the nail bed, which can weaken it. If the acrylic nails become loose because they’re too heavy, they could create air pockets after some time, leading to further issues that need to be dealt with. 

Incorrect products used – As I said earlier, damage to your nails is caused by people’s actions rather than the acrylic nails themselves; however, there is one way the products can cause damage, and that’s if the wrong product is used. MMA acrylic is a much cheaper option that is extremely hard and is inflexible. It is not intended to be used for cosmetic use, and if it is used to create acrylic nails, it can cause serious damage to your natural nails.

You should only ever get acrylic nails done with EMA acrylic. Don’t hesitate to ask your technician what they use; it’s your nails, and you need to do whatever it takes to keep them as healthy as possible. Most technicians will never use MMA as they are aware of the risk and care about your nail health; however, some technicians that offer cheaper nail sets may use MMA acrylic, so be aware of that risk.

They were removed wrong – Removing acrylic nails incorrectly can be very damaging to your natural nails. The majority of the time, you attempt to take your acrylic nails off at home, which isn’t the best for your nails.

Acrylic nail removal consists of a lot of filing and the use of chemicals (acetone). If you file your nails down too far, the nail bed will likely become very thin and weak. In addition to that, poor quality or unsuitable removers can also dry out or irritate the skin around the nail. This can lead to your cuticles cracking and, in serious cases, could lead to infections.

It is best to get your acrylic nails removed professionally to ensure they are done in the best way possible with the least irritation caused to your nails. I know people have busy lives and cannot always get them removed by a technician. So, before you remove them yourself, take some time to try and educate yourself on the correct way to do it, what products to use and what the appropriate aftercare is.

Do’s and don’ts when having acrylic nails

There are certain things you should and shouldn’t do when you have acrylic nails to keep both acrylic and natural nails in the best condition; here’s a few:


  • Maintain your nails in the appropriate way – get regular infills and new sets
  • Keep your hands and nails moisturised – use cuticle oil daily
  • Keep your nails clean, clean under your nails
  • Wear gloves and protect your nails from soaking in water and when using chemicals.


  • Keep them on for longer than the recommended time
  • Use your nails as tools, e.g., open a box with the side of your nail
  • Choose long nails if they aren’t practical for your lifestyle
  • Go to cheap or inexperienced nail technicians


I hope this has been helpful and given you a few ways to keep your acrylic nails from damaging your nails. The key thing to take away from this is that keeping your nails healthy will protect them from getting damaged by acrylic nails. Doing what you can when you’re wearing acrylics and also when having a break to keep your nails hydrated and strong will benefit you so much, and it’ll also help keep your acrylics looking in good condition for longer.

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