Acrylic nails: Can they harm your natural nails?
Acrylic nails generally are safe and won’t harm your natural nails. However, some people who wear acrylic nails may notice a slight discoloration or coarsening of their natural nails. A more serious problem that may result from acrylic nails is a nail infection.
Sometimes a gap develops between the acrylic nail and the natural nail — for example, if the acrylic nail is bumped or jarred, it may separate from the natural nail. This gap provides a moist, warm environment in which bacteria and fungi can grow. An infection may also occur if an acrylic nail is left in place for prolonged periods, or if the salon uses unsanitary tools to apply your nails. If an infection occurs, the natural nail may become thickened and discolored and should be evaluated by a dermatologist.
Rarely, a person may have an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) to components of acrylic nails or the adhesives used to apply them. This usually results in some redness and peeling of the skin around the nail. If peeling is excessive or persists despite the use of moisturizer on the affected skin, consult a dermatologist.
The key to preventing infection and nail damage due to artificial nails is to choose a reputable, licensed nail salon.