How Often Should You Take a Break From Acrylic Nails?

In today’s visual world, it’s easy to feel ‘naked’ without your well-manicured acrylics. But is having your acrylics on 24/7 advisable? How often should you take a break from acrylic nails?

Well, too much of anything is poisonous. We recommend taking a break every three to six months. Let’s dive deeper!

How often should you take a break from acrylic nails?

You need to take a break every 3-6 months. Why? This time frame allows your nails to rejuvenate and build back their strength. Acrylic nails and gel manicures can cause nail thinning and dehydration. So, your nails will need a break.

Remember, when applying acrylics, your natural nail is the foundation. And a weak foundation will mean acrylics popping up sooner than you expect, a result we all dread.

But how do you know when to take a break? Is it in the 3rd or 6th month or in between? Well, you need to carefully check the health of your nails for signs that you should take a break. If your nails show even the slightest signs of weakness, the earlier you take a break, the better.

Do I need to take a break from acrylic nails?

Taking acrylic nail breaks can be quite a sensitive topic. And it often sparks questions about whether these breaks are really necessary.

Our answer? Yes, acrylic nails break are necessary.

The breaks give your natural nails time to repair. And allows you space to accord them proper care. They might have become brittle after the acrylics. And we know a brittle natural nail can only mean a shorter-lasting acrylic application.

During this break, you could apply nail strengthening and healing products directly to your nails. So, it’s like you are nursing them back to health.

You’ll also need a break to allow natural oils to ‘refill .’ The truth is acrylic nails tend to dry out the natural oils of your nail, making them more prone to splitting. And a break will allow the replenishment of these natural oils, so your nails are strong again.

A break will also allow you to check for signs of fungal infections. We all know that when gaps (inevitable most times) form on your nails, they are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

The result? A fungal infection. Time off will help you monitor your nails. And if there are any infections, you can seek help.

Signs that you should take a break from acrylic nails

We can all agree now that your nails need a break. But what signs should you look for to determine that your acrylic nails need a break?

Frail Nails

Splitting, peeling, nail thinning, and general weakness are all signs of frail nails. In addition, regular acrylic application coupled with nail polish application can dehydrate your nails.

Dehydration makes your nail bed thinner, leaving you with weak nails. If you notice any of these signs, then it’s time to let your nails breathe and allow them to heal.

Dry cuticles

Have you noticed flaky, cracked, or peeling cuticles on your fingers? If yes, you may be suffering from dry cuticles. And it’s about time you take a break from acrylics to allow your cuticles time to heal.

Here’s why you may have dry cuticles even with the acrylic application.

During acrylic application, your nails are exposed to alcohol and other acrylic chemicals. The result? Dry cuticles. And over the years, we’ve found that the acrylic liquid is the main culprit.

It stays on the cuticles longer, causing dehydration. So, you must ensure that the acrylic liquid won’t have prolonged contact with the cuticles.

White smudges nails

Spotted some white patches on your natural nails below your acrylics? You need a break from acrylics. While these smudges are harmless, they are proof of nail trauma or keratin granulation.

Wondering where nail trauma comes from? Nail trauma and keratin granulation can result from a dehydrated nail plate. Or from the use of acetone nail polish remover. Acetone remover can remove the superficial layers of the nails, causing white streaks.

To avoid these white smudges, keep your nails moisturized. Ensure you massage cuticle oil on your nail plate regularly. And if the white patches still appear, get rid of your acrylic nails for some time.

Discolored nails

Discolored nails are a barometer of overall nail health. So when you notice your natural nails yellowing, please take it as a sign; let your nails breathe! And by nails breathing, we mean giving them a break. They are already breathing through the bloodstream!

But why would acrylics discolor nails?

First, nail discoloration may mean you have a fungal infection or mineral and vitamin deficiency. You need medical intervention to get the best cures for your deficiencies or infection.

Second, Michele Green, a leading board-certified cosmetic dermatologist, notes that the chemicals making up acrylics can sometimes be compromised, causing nail discoloration.

What happens if I don’t take a break from acrylic nails? 

Do you need to be convinced that you are continually compromising your nail health by applying artificial nails? Well, we get you. After all, it’s not easy to forfeit that perfect nail look at all times.

But not taking a break can have dire consequences. You’ll soon lose that capability to show off your natural nails. And we know depending on acrylics to show off your nails’ beauty 24/7 could be more fun. So, here’s what happens if you don’t take a break from acrylic nails.

Not taking a break can strip your natural nails of their natural oils. And if the natural nails have no natural oils, they tend to become brittle. The result? Broken, split, and cracked up nails. In short, you’ll have weak nails that can’t even hold up acrylics well.

You may also have to deal with the natural nail separating from the nail bed. The fumes and chemicals used in the acrylic application process are quite harsh. And continuous exposure may cause the nails and the surrounding area to swell and feel itchy.

If this continues, the natural nail will ultimately separate from the nail bed. And you’ll need several months to allow healing, something you’d have avoided by taking a break from the acrylic application.

And if you still need a little more convincing, here’s Amelia’s real-life experience of the dangers of acrylic nails with no breaks.

Will acrylics damage my nails?

A few years ago, Amelia’s story with acrylics went viral. Continuous use of acrylics had caused massive damage to her nail beds. And it stirred up one main question; do acrylics damage nails?

Well, acrylic nails shouldn’t damage nails. But they can seriously damage your nails if there is poor prep, application, and removal. How?

Your nail tech must file and buffer your nails during the nail prep process. This step, done over time, will cause nail thinning and weakening. So, acrylic nails will appear to have indirectly damaged natural nails.

The chemicals used during acrylic application can also be quite harsh. And if you are allergic to any of them, they’ll damage your nails. So, you need to get a professional consultation before the application process.

If you want to start a vicious cycle of damaged nails, get a quack for the nail removal process. People often say they removed their nails using credit cards or dental floss.

And trust me, this will be the beginning of endless nail woes. So, if you don’t want to fall victim, remove nails with either a file or an acetone-based solvent.

And lastly, you may perceive that acrylics damage your nails while, in actual sense, you are to blame. If you don’t take a break from acrylics, you’ll likely experience this.

How can I keep my nails healthy with acrylics?

‘If you serve your acrylics well, they’ll pay back the favor twice.’ We always remind our clientele of this. And the question that follows; how can I serve my acrylics? In short, how can one keep nails healthy with acrylics?

Healthy nails start from the inside to the outside. So, you’ve got to eat well and hydrate to get the minerals that will make your nails healthy and strong.

Ensure you consume foods rich in vitamin B and iron. And if you can’t access such foods, taking over-the-counter supplements would also be fine.

You’ll also keep your nails healthy with acrylics by moisturizing regularly. Get a good quality cuticle oil and massage it onto your nails at least once daily. Alternatively, you can use coconut or olive oil to moisten your fingers.

Keeping your nails healthy with acrylics will also involve taking regular breaks from them. Breaks will allow your natural nails to rest and rejuvenate. In return, they’ll offer great support when you have your acrylics on.

Last but most importantly, know your nails. You can figure this out together with your nail technician.

Ask yourself, are my natural nails sensitive? Do they grow or become brittle upon acrylic application? This knowledge will allow you to know when to get fill-ins, replace tips, take breaks, and perform general nail maintenance.

How can I keep my nails healthy after acrylics? 

If you take a break from acrylics, you still need to keep your nails healthy. And remember, you need to keep your nails healthy after acrylics, whether damaged or not. How?

Well, the first thing you should do after acrylic removal is to allow the nail to grow out completely. You’ll then be left with a ‘new nail,’ which you are sure is a healthy nail; unless you have a deeper nail infection.

You can also keep your nails healthy by moisturizing them regularly. This way, you won’t have to deal with dry cuticles. Most importantly, research has shown moisturizing improves the circulation around your nail. And this will stimulate healthy nail growth.

We also recommend that you switch to regular simple polish after acrylics. An acrylic application or a gel manicure can be hard on your nails, and you need time for your nails to recover from this harshness.

A good quality regular nail polish might solve your nail health problem. We love to recommend using a nail hardener alongside regular nail polish. You can apply the hardener daily over the nail polish.

A nail hardener will allow your nails to grow longer while still stronger. So, you won’t have to deal with broken nails regularly as you would without a hardener.

Above all, eat well. You can’t have healthy nails without the proper nutrients to foster such nails.

What things do acrylic nails need a break from?

Now that we’ve figured that your natural nails need a break from acrylics, what things do acrylics need a break from?

Being used as a tool substitute

Every nail salon should put out a poster with this message; STOP USING YOUR ACRYLIC NAILS AS A TOOL SUBSTITUTE!!

You shouldn’t open cans, peel off stickers or scrape surfaces using acrylic nails. They might be long-lasting, but they aren’t indestructible.

Making them tools will cause the acrylic nails to break, chip, and eventually pop off. And you don’t need that kind of stress.

Restrictive diets with little to no protein

If you are on a restrictive diet, you should be very intentional with your protein intake. Lack of calcium and protein can cause brittle natural nails prone to breakage.

But what has this got to do with your acrylics? They won’t have a strong foundation, eventually causing them to pop off.

Harsh cleaning chemicals

If you have acrylic nails, keep off harsh cleaning chemicals. Better still, put on protective gloves when using such chemicals. Harsh chemicals can cause lifted acrylics and brittle nails. And on top of your brittle nails- color chipping!

Hand sanitizer

We know how hygiene is important—especially coming from the COVID-19 season. But if you have acrylic nails, you’ll need to reconsider the excessive use of hand sanitizer. It can cause dried-up cuticles and, consequently, lifted acrylics.

As experienced nail techs, we always remind our clients to use sanitizers as a last resort. But, of course, that is if there’s no hand-washing point. And always remember to moisturize right after exposing yourself to water or hand sanitizer.

How can I care for my damaged nails after acrylics?

Now, the damage is already done. So how can you care for damaged nails after acrylics?

Take a break from acrylics.

We’ve already over-emphasized this; take a break from acrylics. There’s no point in having acrylics on top of a damaged nail.

While taking the break, we recommend you dig into why you have damaged nails. As we’ve already said, acrylics will only damage nails if handled improperly.

So, find out which process went wrong. And you’ll probably avoid the same issue the next time you have an acrylic application.

Use regular or gel polish.

We know you can feel naked without acrylics if you’re already used to them. And the option? Go for regular polish (we specifically recommend clear polish). This way, you and your nail technician can monitor nail progress as it heals.

If you are not into the regular polish, go for gel nail polish. While gel nails will still strain your nails, they are much better than acrylic ones.

But make sure you go to a nail salon that uses an LED curing light, not a UV one. That way, you’ll have reduced UV exposure and reduce the possibility of nail damage.

Treat your nails

Lastly, treat your nails. If the damage is minimal, you can use DIY treatments. Consult a professional nail tech about the best DIY remedies.

You could also take biotin supplements to promote the growth of strong natural nails. If you’re too far gone with the damage, visit a medical practitioner for help.


The acrylic nail application journey is unwittingly fun. But while at it, remember the health of your natural nails! Take a break from acrylic nails every three to six months.

You should always remember to get proper nail prep, application, and removal. And before I forget, practice good nutrition and engage a professional nail technician for strong and healthy nails. Your nails will thank you for it!

Leave a Comment