Why do Acrylic Nails Hurt & Easy Tips to Relieve the Pain

Why do Acrylic Nails Hurt & Tips on How to Relieve the Pain
Why do Acrylic Nails Hurt & Tips on How to Relieve the Pain

Acrylic Nails are amazing they are extremely durable, long-lasting and they look absolutely stunning which is why acrylic nails are one of the most popular forms of manicures.

But they can be tedious to apply, expensive, and in some cases, acrylic nails can cause moderate to extreme pain and discomfort.

Now in this article, I am gonna go through some of the main reasons why your acrylic nails would hurt and how to avoid it from happening. Plus I am gonna share with you some tips on how to relieve some of the pain.

Is it Normal For Acrylic Nails To Hurt

Acrylic Nails are not supposed to cause any severe pain and discomfort, especially for a long period of time.

But it is common and natural for the nails to hurt and to be somewhat sore for the first day after application.

Now if your acrylic nails are hurting a lot and they are still sore even after a day, this can be because:

  1. Too Much Filing was Done to the Natural Nails
  2. The Cuticles were Not Prepped Correctly
  3. Natural Nails were too Thin & Weak
  4. The Acrylic Nails are Shrinking & Tightening
  5. An Allergic Reaction
  6. The Acrylic Nails were too Thick
  7. The Acrylic Nails are too Long
  8. The Acrylic Nails have a Pointy Tip
  9. Nail Infection
  10. An Acid Nail Primer Was Used
  11. Too Much Force Was Used

If your nails are damaged and brittle after acrylic nails, click here to read how to heal nails after acrylic.

How to Relieve Pain From Acrylic Nails

How to relieve the pain from acrylic nails will really depend on what caused the pain in the first place.

But generally soaking your nails in warm soapy water mixed with Epsom salt should give you some relief.

I also recommend applying cuticle oil to your acrylic nails to keep them moisturized. Now a good cuticle oil will also help to prevent infections from occurring.

You can click here to read my recommendations for the best cuticle oil.

Why Acrylic Nail HurtHow to Relieve
The Cuticles were Not Prepped CorrectlySoak Your Nails in Warm Soapy Water mixed with Epsom Salt
Nail InfectionApply tea tree oil or Vicks VapoRub to the infected area
Too Much Filing was Done to the Natural NailsSoak Your Nails in Warm Soapy Water mixed with Epsom Salt
Allergic ReactionRemove the Acrylic Nails
Natural Nails were too Thin & WeakSoak Your Nails in Warm Soapy Water mixed with Epsom Salt
The Acrylic Nails are too LongFile Down the Acrylic Nails
How to Stop Acrylic Nails From Hurting

1- Too Much Filing Was Done to the Natural Nails

Filing your nails is an essential aspect of acrylic application since it preps the surface of your nails to bond better with the acrylic.

But excessive filing can make your nails thin and brittle which can cause them to hurt.

You see the thinner your nails are the more exposed the nerves under your nails are. And the more exposed these nerves are the more likely they are to hurt.

This is because acrylic nails are hard and not flexible so they transfer any impact directly to the nerves.

I highly recommend you read my article The Dangers & Effects of Acrylic Nails – Can it Cause Cancer

How to Prevent

The best way to avoid this is to ensure that you or your nail tech don’t over-file your nails. Citation.

And that you use the correct nail file with the correct grit when filing. You see if you use a very coarse or rough grit it can really damage your nails.

I recommend using a 180-grit nail file. It’s not too coarse to damage your nails but still effective enough to prep it.

You can click here to see the price for a great 100/180 grit nail file on Amazon, just ensure you use the 180 grit side.

Related Article – How Acrylic Ruin Your Nails & Tips to Prevent Damages

2- Cuticles Were Prepped Incorrectly

Your cuticle is the clear skin at the back edges of your nails. And it is essential that they be pushed back and in some cases trimmed before applying your acrylic.

You see if your cuticles aren’t prepped your acrylic nails are very likely to lift since some of the acrylic might rest on the cuticle instead of being directly on the nail plate.

But if your cuticles were pushed back with too much force or if they were trimmed incorrectly it can cause your nails to hurt and even develop an infection.

Related Article – How to Correctly DIY Push Back Your Cuticles With No Pain

How to Prevent

I recommend softening your cuticles up by soaking them in warm water mixed with oil and soap and then you push and align them with a cuticle pusher.

Now by softening your cuticles up makes it easier for you to push them back which means that you use less force and you are less likely to hurt yourself.

You should also avoid trimming your cuticles and if you do need to trim just trim off the dead cuticle skin.

You can check out the video below to see how to correctly push back your cuticles.

3- Natural Nails Were too Thin & Weak

If your nails are extremely thin and weak and you apply acrylic to them, it can cause them to hurt.

This is because thin nails leave the nerves under your nails more exposed.

Related Article – Acrylic Nails- How Long to Wear & When to take a Break

How to Prevent

If your nails are noticeably thin and weak I recommend that you dont use acrylic nails instead

Instead, give your nails time to heal and rebuild and maybe invest in a nail strengthener.

4- The Acrylic Nails are Shrinking

Acrylic Nails have a tendency to shrink and tighten which can cause pain and discomfort,

This usually happens for the first day after the acrylic nails have been applied.

Now shrinking is completely natural and any discomfort and pain will quickly fade.

5- Allergic Reaction

If you are trying acrylic nails for the first time or you are trying a new product such as a different brand and you develop pain in your nails it could be because of an allergic reaction. Citation.

Feeling pain alone doesn’t necessarily mean you are having an allergic reaction. But if you are allergic to acrylic your nails might have the following symptoms:

  • swelling,
  • redness or irritation,
  • itching,
  • flaking
  • pain and discomfort

Now if you suspect you have an allergic reaction you need to remove the acrylic as soon as possible. And if the symptoms aren’t going away consider seeing a dermatologist.

You can click here to read my article on Allergic Reaction to Acrylic Nails- How to Spot & Treat

6- The Acrylic Nails are too Thick

If your acrylic nails are too thick it can cause some amount of discomfort.

This is because the extra thickness adds weight which increases the stress to your natural nails and makes them feel uncomfortable.

Related Article – Acrylic Nails turn Yellow or Brown: Causes & How to Fix

How To Prevent

Acrylic Nails are best applied in thin layers. This looks and feels more natural and places less strain on your nails.

7- The Acrylic Nails are Too Long

Acrylic Nails that are too long tend to feel more uncomfortable and if you accidentally hit them, it can lead to severe pain.

How to Prevent

Avoid having long acrylic nails and if your acrylic nails are too long you can file them down.

8- The Acrylic Nails Have a Pointy Tip

Acrylic Nails that are pointy tend to be more uncomfortable to wear. Pointy nails are more likely to hook on materials and if you hit them it can be quite painful.

How to Prevent

I recommend molding your acrylic nails into a more conventional nail shape like almond-shaped

Now if your acrylic nails are pointed you can file them to a regular shape.

9- Infection

Acrylic Nails are one of the most common causes of nail infections. And nail infections can cause your nails to hurt. Citation.

Nail infections from acrylic nails usually happen either when:

  1. The acrylic nails start to lift and moisture gets trapped underneath, and bacteria and fungi start to build up
  2. Or if the nail tools and utensils weren’t sterilized and cleaned properly.

You can spot a nail infection if your nails:

  1. Develop a bad odor
  2. Hurt when little pressure is applied
  3. Redness
  4. Swelling
  5. Itching
  6. Become discolored

How To Prevent

  • Ensure that all the tools used during the application process such as the cuticle pusher are sterilized before they are used.
  • Keep your acrylic nails clean and dry

How to Treat

Nail Infection can be helped by using some home remedies such as using Tea Tree oil or Vicks VapoRub. Citation.

But I recommend checking with a doctor to get proper treatment.

10- An Acid Nail Primer Was Used

A Nail Primer is a coating applied to your nail plates to make the acrylic bond and adhere better to your nail plate.

Now they are different kinds of nail primers but the primer that can potentially cause your nails to hurt are the primers that contain acid.

Nail primers that contain acid work by making microscopic holes on your nail plates so that the acrylic can bond and anchor onto the nails better.

Acid-based primers are safe to use and are very common but if used in excess or on weak nails they can cause pain and irritation.

How to Prevent

I recommend using a nail primer that doesn’t contain any acid. And one of the best non-acid primers is Young Nails Protein Bonder.

You can click here to see the current price for a bottle on Amazon.

11- Too Much Force Was Used

If your nail tech uses too much force when handling your nails it can leave your nails extra sore. This usually happens if your nail tech is in a hurry or is inexperienced.

How to Prevent

Ensure your nail tech takes her time with your nails and that they are gentle with.

Dont be scared to tell them if you think they are hurrying or being overly rough.

Video of Why Acrylic Nails Hurt

Citation and References

Acrylic Nails Allergic Reactions.

How to Safely File Your Own Nails

What Causes a Fungus to Grow Under Acrylic Nails