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

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

Have you noticed your acrylic nails have developed a yellowish or brownish tinge?

Over the years have seen this occur in a few of my clients, all of which were panicking thinking their nails had gone bad, but do you need to worry?

So that’s why in this article I am going to share with you the reasons why your acrylic nails can become discolored and what you can do to fix and prevent it from occurring.

The main reasons why your acrylic nails turned yellow or brown are:

  1. Low-quality or very old acrylic powder or liquid was used
  2. The acrylic product wasn’t allowed to harden before applying the top coat
  3. You have had the acrylic nails on for too long – constantly getting fill-ins.
  4. Using a strong nail primer
  5. Too much exposure to sunlight
  6. Your acrylic nails got stained from dyes from cooking like turmeric or curry powder
  7. Acrylic nails were exposed to harsh chemicals such as bleach and other detergents

In most cases if your acrylic nails have changed color it won’t pose any risk to you or your nails, keep reading to learn more.

Fixing your acrylic nails that have changed color will depend on what caused the change in color.

  • If your acrylic nails were stained from dyes such as turmeric or curry powder you can use lemon or lime juice, vinegar, or maybe even try hydrogen peroxide.
  • Now with acrylic nails that turned yellow from sunlight, bad application, or low-quality products then your best bet is to cover up the discoloration with a very dark nail polish.

I go into more detail on how to use these methods later on in the article so keep on reading.

Related Articles – Allergic Reaction to Acrylic Nails- How to Spot & Treat

Dangers & Effects of Acrylic Nails- Can it Cause Cancer

What causes Acrylic Nails to turn Yellow or Brown

If your acrylic nails turned yellow or brown and they haven’t been exposed to harsh chemicals like bleach, food dyes, or too much sunlight. Then it is most likely either an application issue or a product problem.

1- Low-Quality Acrylic Products were Used

Acrylic products can lead to the yellowing or browning of acrylic nails if they:

  1. Are very low-quality meaning the liquid monomer and powder polymer isn’t up to standard. Very cheap products tend to have too many additives.
  2. Went bad – maybe your salon has had the liquid or powder for a long time. Acrylic liquid and monomer can go bad after 18 months or faster if not stored correctly.
  3. Mixed – if your nail salon has a tendency to mix old liquid or powder with newly opened ones.
  4. Or if you mix different brands together which sometimes can lead to negative reactions.

If the reason for your acrylic nails becoming yellow is due to bad products I recommend removing them. This is because bad products could pose other health risks.

Related Article – What is Acrylic Monomer- Best Brands to Use & Side Effects

How to Prevent

I recommend sticking with extremely reputable and certified nail salons. They tend to use better quality products. Read reviews and ask questions.

If you DIY your acrylic nails always invest in good quality products and ensure they are stored correctly in places that are not too hot or too cold.

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

2- Acrylic Nails weren’t allowed to completely harden

This is less rare but it can happen. You see if you don’t allow the acrylic nails to completely harden and dry before applying the sealant it can leave the acrylic nails mushy and incomplete which can lead to discoloration.

You see when you apply the sealant which is usually a gel top coat it stops the acrylic liquid from evaporating meaning the acrylic won’t be able to harden properly.

Related Article – 5 Best Alternatives to Acrylic Nails That are Safer & Better

How to Prevent

The best way to prevent this from occurring is to allow enough time for the acrylic to harden and dry before applying the sealant, this is why you need to read the directions for the acrylic products.

But if you don’t have any direction what I do is apply all of the acrylic nails and then lastly apply the gel top coat. This allows them to cure completely.

Related Article – 10 Reasons Why Acrylic Nails Lift & How to Fix & Prevent

3- Had the Acrylic Nails on For Too Long

Acrylic nails can last you up to 6-8 weeks once you get them filled-in every 2-3 weeks. But when you do a fill-in you leave old product on.

I have seen the old leftover product develop discoloration over time especially if you pass 8 weeks of wear.

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

How to Prevent

The best way to prevent this from occurring is to completely remove all of the acrylic product from your nails once they pass 8 weeks of wear even if they aren’t lifting.

I also recommend taking a break from acrylic nails, click here to learn why and for how long.

4- Strong Nail Primers

Your nail primers can also lead to your acrylic nails becoming yellow. This usually happens when you are doing a fill-in and the primer reacts with the leftover acrylic product. Citation.

Now, this happens more when you use stronger acid-based nail primers. This is another reason why I recommend using a non-acid primer, click here to read learn more about nail primers.

4- Too Much Exposure to Sunlight

When acrylic nails are exposed for a long period of time to harsh sunlight they can become discolored. The UV light from sunlight can break down the acrylic which can cause them to change color.

This is especially true for low-quality acrylic products or when you don’t wear a top coat over your acrylic nails.

Related Articles-

When to Remove Acrylic Nails & When to Get it Filled

How Long Acrylic Nails Last & 11 Tips to Make Last Longer

How to Prevent

  • Avoid having your nails exposed to sunlight for long periods of time maybe consider wearing finger gloves
  • Apply a good top coat over your acrylic nails – this will help to protect your acrylic nails from the sun, click here to read my recommendations for a good top coat for acrylic nails.

5- Acrylic Nails Got Stained

Acrylic nails can be stained by things like food dyes, hair dyes, certain makeup, turmeric, and curry powder. All of these things can leave them discolored.

How to Prevent

If you know you are going to be handling anything that may stain your nails then wear a good pair of gloves that will protect your acrylic nails.

Related Article – 7 Tips to Quickly Heal Damaged Nails After Acrylic Or Gel

6- Acrylic Nails were Exposed to Harsh Chemicals

Certain strong and harsh chemicals like bleach, paint products, hair treatments, pesticides, etc can cause a chemical reaction with your acrylic nails.

This reaction can cause your acrylic nails to become discolored.

How to Prevent

When handling any strong chemical please wear proper protective gloves. This will protect your skin and your acrylic nails.

Related Article: Gel vs Acrylic Nails – Which One Is Right For You

How to Fix Acrylic Nail turned Yellow or Brown

1- Use Lemon/ Lime Juice or White Vinegar

If the discoloration of your acrylic nails is from stains such as dyes or food coloring you can use this method:

  1. Damp a cotton pad with lemon juice or white vinegar
  2. And then wrap your acrylic nails with the cotton pad.
  3. Leave it on your acrylic nails for 5 to 10 minutes
  4. Then wash your nails with running water.
  5. Repeat as many times till your nails are back to normal.

This method won’t work if the yellowing or browning of your acrylic nails is from a chemical reaction such as sunlight or bad acrylic products.

Reactions are permanent and cannot be wiped off. Instead, you need to cover them up.

2- Cover Your Yellowed Acrylic Nails with a Dark Nail Polish

If your acrylic nails are still in good condition meaning that they aren’t lifting or chipping. But have become discolored, then one of the best things you can do is wear a dark-colored nail polish to hide the yellowish-brownish tinge.

This will work regardless of the cause of the nails becoming discolored.