Acrylic nails are a great way to achieve long, impeccably manicured nails. They do not chip and break like natural nails and are an easy way to look well-groomed. However, acrylic nails do require maintenance and special attention to stay healthy. Poorly fitted acrylic nails may develop fungal growth in the gap between the acrylic and natural nails. Infections can also develop when a person wears acrylic nails for an extended period of time. In rare cases, individuals may experience an allergic reaction or sensitivity towards chemicals or other components of the acrylic nail application. Here are five ways to maintain healthy acrylic nails that prevent unwanted damage.
Apply Nail and Cuticle Oil Daily
Healthy nails are clean nails, and acrylic nails require daily cleaning. Oil should be applied to the nail several times per day to maintain flexibility, eliminate separation between the natural and acrylic nail, and to prevent the nail from cracking or peeling. Most technicians recommend focusing primarily on the free edge of the acrylic nail and the cuticle. Cleaning with antibacterial soap, water and a small nail brush several times a week also helps minimize the risk of infection. Towel dry thoroughly after washing.
Check Daily to Determine if Nails are Loosening and Never Apply Glue if Separation Occurs
When acrylic nails loosen from the natural nail, fungus and bacteria can develop in the gap. Some people choose to glue their own nails together, but this traps bacteria and can lead to nasty infections. If nails are loose, schedule an appointment with a professional salon quickly in order to repair the damage. The risk of infection can be reduced by dipping the nail in rubbing alcohol prior to repair.
Always Wear Rubber Gloves when Handling Chemicals
Acrylic nails can be weakened, discolored, or stained by household chemicals including detergents and cleaning products. Wearing gloves when handling chemicals at home or at work prolongs the life of these nails. Gloves should also be worn when gardening.
Treat Acrylic Nails like Jewels, not Tools
Acrylic nails are beautiful accessories, but they do not have the same utility as natural nails. Do not use them to pry open anything, especially pop tops. Learn to use fingertips rather than fingernails to prevent breakage. Acrylic nails should always be maintained at an appropriate length for your lifestyle and activity level.
Touch-up Acrylic Nails every 2-3 Weeks
As the natural nail grows out, fills are needed to stabilize the artificial nail and eliminate the bump between the acrylic and natural nail. Reapplying polish, filing long nails, and using oil can all prolong the time between fills. However, a visit to the salon is recommended as soon as nails start to wear and the gap between the acrylic and the cuticle becomes noticeable. Never remove acrylic nails by prying them off, and remember that nails need a break from acrylics every 3-4 months to stay healthy.