Acrylic nails are a type of artificial nails that are created by combining a liquid and a powder to form a dough-like substance that can be molded and shaped onto the natural nails. The mixture then hardens as it dries to create a hard, durable surface that can be painted and decorated with nail polish or other embellishments.
Acrylic nails are popular for their ability to create a long-lasting, polished look that is resistant to chipping and breaking. They can be applied to natural nails, or to tips that are glued to the natural nails to create a longer nail bed.
Acrylic nails are typically maintained with regular fills, in which the gap that forms between the natural nail and the acrylic is filled in with more of the acrylic mixture. Proper care and maintenance is important to prevent damage to the natural nails, such as lifting or breaking.
Why Do My Acrylic Nails Hurt?
There are several reasons why your acrylic nails may be causing discomfort or pain:
- Improper application: If the acrylic mixture is not applied correctly or is not properly bonded to the natural nail, it can cause discomfort and pain. This can occur if the nail technician does not prepare the natural nail properly or if the mixture is not applied evenly.
- Over-filing: Over-filing the acrylic nails can cause them to become too thin and weak, which can lead to pain and discomfort. It is important to use the correct grit file and to avoid filing too aggressively.
- Incorrect size or shape: If the acrylic nails are too long or too wide, they can put pressure on the natural nail bed and cause pain. It is important to choose a size and shape that is comfortable and natural-looking.
- Allergic reaction: Some people may be allergic to the chemicals used in acrylic nails, such as ethyl methacrylate (EMA) or methyl methacrylate (MMA), which can cause pain, redness, swelling, and itching.
- Infection: If bacteria or fungi get trapped between the natural nail and the acrylic, it can cause an infection. Symptoms may include pain, redness, swelling, and pus.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort with your acrylic nails, it is important to see a nail technician or a healthcare professional to determine the cause and to receive appropriate treatment.
It is normal to experience some mild discomfort and sensitivity in the first 24-48 hours after getting acrylic nails. This is because the process of applying acrylic nails involves filing, buffing, and shaping the natural nails, which can cause some temporary sensitivity and soreness.
However, if the pain persists beyond the first few days or becomes more severe, it may be a sign of a problem such as an allergic reaction, infection, or improper application.
If you are experiencing ongoing pain or discomfort with your acrylic nails, it is important to see a nail technician or healthcare professional for an assessment. They can determine the cause of the pain and recommend appropriate treatment to alleviate the symptoms.
How to Prevent Nail Soreness
Here are some tips to help prevent nail soreness:
- Choose a reputable nail technician: Make sure the person doing your nails is experienced and uses proper sanitation techniques to prevent infections.
- Avoid over-filing: Ask your nail technician to file your natural nails gently and avoid over-filing, which can cause soreness and sensitivity.
- Choose the right size and shape: Choose a size and shape that is comfortable for you and does not put pressure on the natural nail bed.
- Don't pick at your nails: Avoid picking at the acrylic nails or using them as tools, as this can damage the natural nails and cause soreness.
- Moisturize your hands and nails: Apply a moisturizer to your hands and nails regularly to keep them hydrated and healthy.
- Take breaks: It is important to take breaks between acrylic nail applications to allow the natural nails to rest and recover.
- Be aware of allergies: If you have a history of allergies or have had a reaction to acrylic nails in the past, let your nail technician know before getting your nails done. They may be able to recommend alternative materials or techniques to avoid an allergic reaction.
It's crucial to bear in mind that if the pain becomes intolerable or persists for an extended period beyond the usual time, you should seek medical attention as it could signify a severe condition, such as an allergic reaction or infection. Nonetheless, such cases are infrequent, so don't be deterred from getting acrylics. Just ensure you're aware of any potential issues.
In case you find acrylics too painful or prefer other choices, press-on nails could be an excellent option. They're painless, convenient, and yet offer you a fashionable manicure.