How to Strengthen Your Nails After Wearing Acrylics
If you’ve ever gotten acrylics, you’re likely well aware of just how much the extensions can alter your nail appearance and health.
On one hand, fresh acrylics make nails look long and strong. On the other, once removed, they can leave your nails not only looking brittle but feeling weak, too. As such, you may find yourself at a crossroads: Should you immediately book a fresh set or take the time to strengthen your nails after removing acrylics? We’re hoping you opt for the latter, and if you do, ahead you’ll learn how to do so (including why it’s so important to take a break already)…
How to Strengthen Your Nails in Four Ways
- Remove With Care
Acrylic nails are notorious for the damage they cause nails. But it’s not because of the material itself—rather, it’s the way the material is removed. Acrylics are bonded to the nail vis-à-vis a chemical reaction between a liquid monomer and a powder polymer. The solution is then shaped to the nail where it hardens into a firm nail-like extension. Sometimes, this solution doesn’t fully adhere to all edges, which can allow for lifting. When that happens, some people feel inclined to pick at the acrylic. Under absolutely no circumstances should you do so. Ripping acrylic off is what leads to brittle, weakened nails in need of strengthening.
With this in mind, start the acrylic removal process by filing down as much acrylic as possible (before reaching your nail). After doing so, place an acetone-soaked cotton ball on each nail and wrap it in foil to process. Acrylic takes much longer to remove than gel so it can take a while for all the product to lift off.
If you’re patient with the process, though, you may not have to be as concerned with learning how to strengthen your nails after removing acrylics. That said, if you have particularly thin or weak nails to begin with, or if you’re a serial acrylic wearer, keeping the below nail-strengthening methods in mind can help.
- Give Your Nails a Little TLC
Even when acrylics are removed with care, your nails can still use a little extra nourishment to keep them looking and feeling their best. Remember the nail is a canvas, so it is important to get that canvas back into shape in order to enjoy a return to enhancements.
Acrylic damage can be treated with the Dr. Dana Nail Renewal System ($30), which is a 3-step treatment system she developed to keep fingernails and toenails healthy. It’s a polish-free mani/pedi in a box or your before or after acrylic BFF.
- Take a Break From Acrylics
As much as you may love your acrylic nails, due to their length, strength, and durability (or all three), it is possible to overdo it. Acrylic has bigger molecules than gel and therefore requires bigger grooves in the natural nail to grip onto—this is often why acid-based primers are used to etch the natural nail for acrylic. If you’ve ever wondered why your nails feel sore even a day or two after an acrylic appointment, this is why.
Post-acrylic damage can stretch beyond soreness, though. If the product is aggressively removed and you have acrylics applied often, you will likely see damage to the nail matrix (the anatomical part of the nail that produces the actual nail plate; you can see part of it as the lunula or half-moon). Matrix damage will result in abnormalities observed at the nail, including surface irregularities, white patches, bumps, and grooves. What’s more, it’s possible to accidentally remove your cuticle during acrylic removal, which can also affect nail appearance and potentially lead to infections.
- Consider a Different Type of Extension
If your nails feel thin, weak, or sore AF after acrylics, you may think that your long nail dreams are kaput. Fortunately, there’s a solution. Aprés Gel-X is a soft gel system, and since gel molecules are much smaller, less aggressive etching is required on the natural nail. Plus, Gel-X uses a non-acid-based primer and the removal process is very simple and much faster than acrylic. Because of this, Gel-X is a great way to strengthen and protect the natural nail as it grows out and rebuilds itself — all without having to sacrifice gorgeous nails in the process.
Get Your Nails Checked Out
Just like regular physicals are recommended for the body, getting your nails checked out by a dermatologist is never a bad idea. Nails need to be examined. Sometimes people intentionally cover an ugly nail abnormality in order to cosmetically camouflage it. With this in mind, always arrive at your annual skin check polish- and acrylic-free so that your doctor can examine your nails, too.
Healthy Nails by Botanica
With these proactive steps in mind, that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy beautiful nails. Instead of going to a bustling nail salon where they rush the service, consider a day spa where tranquility and the level of service and skill are paramount! Higher quality tools, polishes, and methods are utilized at Botanica Day Spa versus the heavily worn-out products at a nail salon. Your nails will never be in better shape, even with acrylics, than with our talented nail technicians!
Call today to book your nail appointment at 727-441-1711.