Why Do Acrylics Hurt the First Day After Acrylic

Why do my nails hurt after getting acrylics

Nail pain after acrylics is common, there may be some things we can do to help alleviate it and prevent reoccurrence. Often the cause is from too much pressure or trauma during application. I’ve found some gentle solutions that may work for you as well. Make sure to communicate any sensitivity to your technician beforehand so they can take extra care. Ask them to file the acrylics slightly thicker next time to avoid exposing the natural nail. You could also try a smaller size or lighter material if your nails tend to feel strained.

How to Avoid and Ease Nail Pain from Acrylics

Acrylic nails can make your hands look stunning, but they can also cause pain and discomfort. This pain is caused by the stress and pressure acrylics put on your natural nails and skin. Here are some tips to prevent and treat nail pain from acrylics:

acrylic nail pain
acrylic nail pain
  • Choose a reputable nail salon and technician who apply and remove acrylics gently and carefully.
  • Ask for more soaking and filing time when removing acrylics to avoid hurting your nails.
  • Take painkillers before getting or taking off acrylics to reduce the pain.
  • Avoid putting pressure on your nails for the first few days after getting or removing acrylics. Don’t type, clean, or bite your nails.
  • Use ice packs to soothe the worst pain.
  • Keep your nails clean and moisturized, and use antibacterial or antifungal products if needed.
  • See a doctor if the pain doesn’t go away or gets worse, or if you have signs of infection or allergy.

Acrylic nails can be beautiful without being painful if you follow these steps. Take good care of your nails and enjoy your manicure.

Acrylic Nails Pain

Acrylic nails can look fabulous, but many people experience significant nail pain and discomfort associated with getting acrylics applied, wearing them, and taking them off. The artificial material bonded to the natural nail puts stress on the nail bed and surrounding skin, which can lead to discomfort, inflammation, and infection if proper care is not taken.

Understanding the common causes of acrylic nail pain, how long it typically lasts, ways to prevent problems, and strategies for relieving acrylic nail pain and discomfort can help anyone wearing acrylics manage the process from start to finish more smoothly.

Why Do My Nails Hurt After Getting Acrylics?

It’s very common for acrylic nails to be quite painful and sensitive immediately after application. There are a few key reasons this initial discomfort occurs:

Why do my nails hurt after getting acrylics
my nails hurt after getting acrylics
  • Damage from filing and buffing the natural nails. The technician must file and buff the natural nail surface aggressively to ensure acrylics adhere properly. This filing can cause nails to feel raw and irritated.
  • The heat from curing under the UV or LED lamp. The curing process uses high-intensity light to harden the acrylic polymer. This generated heat can make nails feel sore and inflamed.
  • Stress on the nail bed. Having acrylic material bonded directly to the nail places immediate stress and pressure on the delicate nail bed below, which causes discomfort and throbbing.
  • Damage of the cuticle and surrounding skin. Cutting or pushing back cuticles too harshly can cause pain where the new artificial nail contacts swollen skin.
  • Allergic reactions. Some people may have allergic reactions to the acrylics, glues, gels, or other chemicals used in the process, leading to inflamed and painful nails.
  • Improper application and shaping. If the artificial nail is too thick, filed unevenly, or shaped incorrectly for the natural nail, it can put uncomfortable pressure on the fingers.
  • The initial acrylic nail pain should begin subsiding within 24 to 48 hours as the nails recover from the stress of application. But preventing damage and inflammation during the process can help reduce initial discomfort.

How long will my nails hurt after getting acrylics?

The acrylic nail pain usually occurs in the first 1 to 2 days after getting a new set applied and can longer for 5 to 10 days Here’s a general timeline for how long acrylic nail pain typically lasts:

How long will my nails hurt after getting acrylics
How long will my nails hurt after getting acrylics
  • Day 1: Severe throbbing, soreness, and tenderness. Nails are still stressed and inflamed from the application process.
  • Day 2: Soreness and tenderness continue but improve slightly. Nails remain sensitive to pressure.
  • Days 3-4: Discomfort subsides significantly but mild achiness and tenderness remain, especially when nails are touched or tapped.
  • Days 5-7: Most or all throbbing is gone but nails may still feel a little sensitive or weak. Certain activities like opening cans, typing, or scrubbing may cause mild pain.
  • Days 8-10: Almost all residual pain and discomfort have resolved but nails remain vulnerable to injury or pressure.

Some factors that can prolong acrylic nail pain and tenderness include:

  • Very short natural nails before application. This provides less surface for gluing.
  • Thick acrylics and overfilling natural nails. This stresses the nail bed more.
  • Allergic reactions or infections developing. This inflames the nail more.
  • Normal everyday use puts pressure on nails. Chores, typing, etc. aggravate pain.
  • Poor nail technician skills and improper application. Uneven shaping causes pressure points.

If significant throbbing and acrylic nail pain continue beyond 10 days without improvement, it’s advisable to return to the salon to have the set removed and give natural nails time to heal before reapplying.

Why Do Acrylics Hurt the First Day After Acrylic?

The first 24 hours after getting acrylic nails applied brings the most intense discomfort and pain because the natural nails and skin are still actively recovering and inflamed from the stresses involved in the application process.

Why Do Acrylics Hurt the First Day After Acrylic
Why Do Acrylics Hurt the First Day After Acrylic

Here are the key reasons acrylics hurt so much on the first day:

Lingering heat damage

High-intensity UV and LED lamps used to cure acrylics cause a thermal reaction that leaves nails and cuticles feeling burnt and pained.

Sore, swollen cuticles

Harsh cutting and pushing back of the cuticles causes bruising and inflammation where the artificial nails about the skin.

Raw nail beds

Filing off layers of the natural nails leaves nail beds sensitive and exposed before acrylics are applied.

Bonding adhesive irritation

Glue and bonding agents used for application may contain chemicals that inflame and irritate the nail bed and skin.

Excess pressure on nails

Newly applied acrylic nails are rigid until they soften over a few days. This puts extra stress on the nail bed.

Lack of moisture

The artificial nails strip away natural moisture and oils from the nail bed, causing dryness and discomfort.

Allergic reactions

Acrylic powders, glues, and nail polish can cause allergic reactions with intense pain, itching, and redness.

During the first day, it’s advisable to take anti-inflammatory medication, avoid hot water, keep hands elevated, and ice or splash cold water on nails to relieve pounding and allow the inflammation to begin subsiding. acrylic nail pain should steadily improve over the next week.

Do acrylic nails hurt to take off?

Do Acrylic Nails Hurt When Removed?

Acrylic nails removal can be quite uncomfortable, but should not cause a lot of pain if you can do with proper technique by an experienced nail technician. Here is what to expect:

Do Acrylic Nails Hurt When Removed
Do Acrylic Nails Hurt When Removed

Mild to moderate discomfort

Filing off acrylic layers and soaking off bonding adhesive causes mild throbbing, pressure, pinching, or pulling sensations.

Short bursts of sharper pain

Sometimes a more sensitive spot on the nail bed will get pinched, causing a brief shot of sharper pain during filing or soaking.

Heat during drilling

Gentle drilling is done to thin very thick acrylic layers faster. The friction causes warmth that can sting a bit.

Soreness around the cuticles

Soaking or gently pushing off acrylics from the nail edges can irritate already-tender cuticles.

Sensitivity after removal

Newly exposed natural nails often feel a little raw and tender for 12-24 hours after acrylics are removed. Some circumstances that can lead to greater pain and discomfort during acrylic removal include:

  • Very thick or overgrown acrylic nails, These take more filing and drilling to remove.
  • Lifting or separation between real and artificial nails, This allows water under acrylics to irritate the nail bed.
  • Infections or damage under nails, This leaves the nail bed inflamed and hyper-sensitive.
  • Harsh or rushed removal techniques, Rough handling causes unnecessary pain and trauma.
  • Skipping proper soaking, Not soaking nails long enough makes acrylics adhere more stubbornly.
  • Leaving glue residue, Leftover bonding adhesive keeps irritating the nail bed if not removed.

To make the removal process as comfortable as possible, go to an experienced technician, ask them to work slowly and gently, do breath exercises to stay relaxed, and voice any particular spots of pain so they can adjust. Getting acrylics removed properly should be only mildly uncomfortable rather than very painful.

My Opinion/Advice on Nail Pain

Having beautiful, long-lasting acrylic nails is a goal for many, but the reality is that acrylics often comes pain and discomfort. As someone who has experienced my fair share of throbbing, tenderness, and sensitivity from acrylics, my advice is to take steps to prevent and minimize the pain as much as possible.


Acrylic nails promise gorgeous, long-lasting manicures but also commonly deliver unpleasant side effects of significant pain, tenderness, throbbing, and discomfort during the application process, wearing them, and taking them off. This is caused by the unnatural stress and pressure acrylics place on the delicate nail beds and surrounding skin, especially when applied or removed too harshly.


How long will my nails hurt after getting acrylics?

Acrylic nail pain usually lasts 5-10 days after application, with the worst pain in the first 1-2 days. Residual discomfort can linger up to 10 days before resolving.

Why do acrylic nails hurt the first day?

The first day causes the most pain because nails are still inflamed and recovering from filing, heat damage, cuticle bruising, and bonding adhesive irritation during application.

How do you release pressure from under your nails?

To relieve pressure under nails, soak them in warm water, gently massage the nail beds, use a sterile needle to puncture any fluid pockets, and avoid pressing on nails until pain and swelling subside.

What not to do with acrylic nails?

Avoid pressing on cuticles, prying off lifted nails, peeling off polish, opening cans/bottles with nails, biting nails, and submerging hands in hot water, as these can damage acrylic nails and natural nails.

How do you know if your nail is infected with acrylic?

Signs of an infected nail under acrylics include redness, swelling, yellow/green discharge, foul odor, increased pain, and throbbing. Seek medical care promptly for antibiotics.

Why do my nails hurt after using acetone?

Acetone dries out nails and skin, causing discomfort. Moisturize after use. Consider gentler nail polish removers. If pain persists, an allergic reaction is possible.

How often should you take a break from acrylic nails?

It’s recommended to take a break from acrylics every 2-3 months to allow nails to recover from damage and stress. Let nails breathe completely bare for 1-2 weeks.

Why does my nail hurt when I put pressure on it?

Pain when pressing on a nail typically indicates bruising/injury under the nail. This requires time to heal. Avoid pressure and cover with a bandage until the discomfort resolves.

How long is too long to keep acrylic nails on?

Acrylics should be filled every 2-3 weeks and fully replaced every 2-3 months to avoid excessive length and damage to the natural nails beneath.

What is the healthiest way to remove acrylic nails?

Filing off acrylic layers and soaking in pure acetone is safest. Seek professional removal to avoid ripping off acrylics, which can tear natural nails.

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