Why Do My Nails Hurt After Getting Acrylics?

Nope, it’s not just you. The throbbing and sore pain you feel after getting your acrylic nails is a real and commonly shared experience. It’s not even only my clients, but I see it on online forums and message boards where women have posed variations of the same question: “do acrylic nails hurt?” or “why do my nails hurt after getting acrylics?”

While you can find different answers to these questions, the truth is that there are many reasons why acrylic nails hurt. However, the most likely culprit is the tightening sensation caused by acrylic forming a firm seal over your natural nails. Fortunately, the sensation eventually goes away once the acrylic has fully hardened.

But why does this odd phenomenon happen in the first place? Can you do anything to prevent it?

In this article, let’s learn more about why acrylic nails hurt and how something simple as applying cuticle oil before and after fixing acrylics, can help prevent the pain.

Do Acrylic Nails Hurt?

Everyone experiences acrylic nails differently. Some people may feel pain after the application, and others may not feel anything at all.

Most people getting acrylic treatment for the first time feel a tightening sensation during and after application because the acrylic forms a firm seal over their nails. But the pain or discomfort is normal.

Additionally, the disagreeable sensation comes from your acrylic pulling your natural nails. Your nail tech must file and smoothen your natural nails to create a coarse that easily adheres to the falsies. But the filed and smoothened real nail becomes weak, making any pulling effect from your acrylic painful.

Any pain or discomfort caused by acrylics is short-lived. Most women report that any unwanted sensations dissipate within 24 hours. During this time, you can feel like the acrylic is tugging the skin around the cuticles. It’s common to experience some soreness and throbbing pain under acrylic nails.

Ultimately, all these side effects are typically mild. Unless you are allergic to acrylics or there is temporary or permanent damage to the natural nail, it shouldn’t cause any hindrance to normal life.

Why do Acrylic Nails Hurt?

There are several possible reasons why your acrylic nails might be hurting. Let’s look at the main ones and how to deal with them.

You are New to Acrylic Nails

Applying acrylics on your nails, in most cases, only hurts if you are new to them.

It takes between 1 to 2 hours to get acrylics done. The process involves preparing your natural nails before the acrylics are fixed. In between your natural nails and acrylics is a glue that helps them stick.

You may feel discomfort when your nails are filed and prepared during the application. However, this pain usually disappears even before your nails are done.

The most common and noticeable pain happens a few minutes or hours after acrylics are fixed. After that, you’ll experience a burning sensation, soreness, and throbbing pain in your nails.

The pain will last 24 hours unless your natural nails are damaged. During that time, your nails will get used to the feeling of your new acrylics. The acrylics put pressure on your natural nails as they tighten and dry. This pressure takes some time to get used to.

Filing Down Natural Nails

One of the important steps to gorgeous acrylic nails is filing natural nails. This is important because it makes the acrylics adhere firmly and last longer. Dead skin around the cuticles, natural oils, and moisture from the nail are all removed during the nail prep.

However, when you are new to acrylic life, you may feel a burning sensation or pain when the nail tech is filing your natural nails. The burning sensation comes from the friction of the bit on the nail, and it’s normal.

The filed nails are usually weak because the natural shine has been removed. So when acrylics are fixed over your natural nails and start to bond together, you feel the pain. Thankfully the pain disappears when the acrylic has fully bonded, and your natural nail grows back its base.

Applying Thick Acrylics

Most amateur nail techs mess up your nails by glopping on thick acrylics. Too much viscosity will cause ridges, lumpiness, and an unnatural peel finish. Plus, it will make the enhancement prone to service breakdowns such as lifting and chipping.

But is that why your acrylic hurts? Unfortunately, no. Your acrylics hurt when you apply thick coats because your nails are not used to the added weight. Moreover, thick enhancements take more time to dry.

The stress caused by the added weight and the long dry time can make you feel pain. And until your natural nails get used to the weight and the acrylic dries, the pain won’t disappear.

You are Allergic to Acrylics

It’s difficult for most people to believe that their acrylic nails hurt because they are allergic to them. While it can be far-fetched and seem like a silly reason, having an allergic reaction to acrylic nails is legit.

The most common potential allergen found in acrylics is the Methacrylate chemical used as a bonding agent in artificial nail products. Most people react to this chemical and may experience redness, burning, and itching sensation around the nail bed. This reaction can start immediately after the acrylic is applied and last for several minutes or hours afterwards.

Even though this allergy isn’t particularly severe, the symptoms and irritation caused by Methacrylate can disorient your day-to-day life. As a result, you won’t only lose the motivation to get your nails done, but constant pain won’t be good for your nails.

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