Why do My Nails Hurt After Getting Acrylics Done?

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Discover the reasons behind why your nails hurt after getting acrylics done and how you can help ease the pain.

Getting acrylic nails have been something I have done for many years now, and it is something I enjoy and look forward to. However, the one thing that I don’t enjoy about the whole process is the aftermath. Once you’ve had your nails done, it’s not just a pretty manicure you are left with; it is the sensitive, sore nails.

For the first day or two after getting your acrylic nails done, your nails can be very sore and have a tender feel to them; and even though it is very uncomfortable, it is completely normal. So, why do my nails hurt after getting acrylics done?

Well, there are a few reasons, but the main reason is that the acrylic nail needs to form a seal over your nail, so the soreness you may feel is a tightening sensation that means that the acrylic nail is adhering and molding to your natural nail.

In this post, we’ll look at all the reasons why your nails hurt after getting acrylics done and how to help the soreness.

Why do my nails hurt after getting acrylics done?

When people get acrylic nails done, many of them will experience a tight, sore feeling soon after having the acrylics applied. Although this is an uncomfortable and confusing sensation, it is completely normal.

The main cause of this feeling is that once the acrylic nail is applied to the nail, it takes time to bond and create a seal over the nail. This seal means that the acrylic has fully adhered to the nail, which means it will stay stuck to your nail for as long as possible.

However, once the acrylic has had a chance to settle, the uncomfortable pain will go, and you’ll be able to use them properly.

The process of preparing the nail can also cause your nails to be sore shortly after getting them done. The nail technician will have to file down the nail and push your cuticles back to make sure that the nail bed is completely ready to apply the acrylic.

Even though it does cause your nails to be quite tender after, it is a vital part of the process and isn’t something that can be skipped to avoid pain. However, if this is the cause of your sore nails, it is very common and is almost an expected pain with acrylic nails.

Many reasons may cause your nails to hurt after having acrylics down, but there are a few main ones, and one of them is the pressure of the nail tech pushing down on your nails.

Nail technicians do many sets of acrylic nails in a day, and that can cause them to be unaware of the pressure they apply.

Filing and applying the acrylic to the nail means there is a lot of downward pressure and uncomfortable positions. This would definitely cause some pain later on.

This is an avoidable cause if you decide to talk to your nail tech and ask them to be less heavy-handed, but most times, people don’t feel comfortable speaking up.

If you feel like they are applying too much pressure, just ask them politely, and as I said earlier, they may not know that they are applying too much pressure and will be more gentle.

How to help your sore nails 

Now, although there isn’t much you can do to prevent the soreness from happening, there are a few things you can do to make sure the tender feeling doesn’t last any longer than it needs to. The first thing you can do to help your sore nails, is keeping your hands and nails hydrated. 

To keep them hydrated, you can use cuticle oil or aloe vera gel; these will keep the skin surrounding your nail soft and moistened, which will help soothe your nails from the harsh process of filing and the pressure applied.

Another way to help your sore nails after getting acrylic nails is by soaking your hands in cold water. This doesn’t have to be too long; no longer than 5 minutes would work as you are only looking to ease the tenderness. 

Cold water is a great way to calm the pain and cool off your hands, so this is a great idea for you to try when your nails are sore. Putting your hands in cold water for 5 minutes will not ruin your acrylic nails or cause them to lift, so don’t feel unsure about giving this a go.

Finally, do not be afraid to talk up to your nail technician; if you think they are being too rough or aren’t happy with the way they are doing your nails, let them know.

You are paying for the nails and paying for the experience and should expect to be treated well. If you think that they are filing too much or causing you any discomfort, let them know, as they may not be aware of it. 

There are also a few things about the type of nail you are getting that can cause you some pain once you’ve had your nails done. Thick layers of acrylic can cause your nails to be sore afterward, so if you want to prevent the pain after having your nails down, ask the nail technician not to make the acrylic too thick. 

Another thing is that pointier and longer nail shapes can cause more discomfort, so if you want to avoid getting the pain after having your acrylic nails done, try and go for a shorter, more practical shape.

Frequently asked questions 

How long will my nails hurt after getting acrylics?

Your acrylic nails should only hurt for about 24 hours. As stated earlier, the only reason why your nails should be hurting is that they are settling to your nail and because of the process of getting them done, so once your nails have had time to settle down and recover from the vigorous filling, the pain should go away. 

However, if it is your first time getting your nails done, and your nails have not experienced that type of process before, you may experience the soreness for a little while longer.

If you find that the pain is still there after a few days and it is not getting better, then it is advised that you seek medical help or advice as there may be a further issue with your nails.

Make sure to get nails checked if something doesn’t feel right or the pain is unbearable. The pain shouldn’t cause you horrible pain; it should only feel sore or uncomfortable, so if you experience bad pain, do get it checked. 

How long does it take to get used to acrylics?

If you are new to getting acrylic nails, then it can take some time to get used to them; however, it’s not as long as you may think. I’d say that it may take you 2-3 days to get used to them and adapting to life with acrylic nails, but by the end of the first week, you’ll be a pro!

A great tip that would make getting used to acrylic nails easier is, start with a shorter, more practical length and shape. This is a great way to see if you like how they look on you but still allows you to do everyday tasks with ease.

If you decide that you like them and realise that life with acrylic nails isn’t as bad as you assumed, you can try a longer length or different shape the next time you get them done. 

How long should you wear acrylic nails?

If you have acrylic nails, you should only have the same set for six to eight weeks, with infills every two to three weeks. A good set of acrylic nails that are maintained with the correct amount of infills will last up to 2 months and, in some cases, may last even longer. 

However, it is essential to give your natural nails a break and allow them to breathe, so it is advised that you take off your acrylic nails altogether every six to eight weeks. 

Having a break gives your nails a chance to rehydrate and regain strength as acrylic nails do weaken your nails; so, although acrylic nails may last a lot longer than this time frame provided, it isn’t advised to go past this amount of time.


I hope this has been helpful and has helped to reassure you that the pain after having acrylic nails done is normal and is expected after the whole process of getting them done. 

However, it is important to remember that if the pain is unbearable or lasts a lot longer than the average time, to get it checked as it may be an indication of something more serious, for example, an allergic reaction or an infection. However, this is a rare occasion, so don’t let that put you off getting them done; just make sure you know what is going on.

If you find the pain of acrylics unbearable or wish for other options, you could try press-on nails. Press-on nails are a great alternative that is pain-free and easy and still gives you a stylish manicure.

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