Acrylic nails have been around for ages. Whether you sat down for the lengthy process to look picture perfect for your prom or to flaunt the perfect mani in a wedding party, these artificial nail enhancements are a rite of passage for so many women.
"Good-looking" nails aside, nail artist and industry expert Jessica Washickbelieves a lot of individuals still wear acrylics because they provide "a quick fix to achieve a temporary nail goal." This may include increasing strength, adding length or repairing splits or gaps. But at what cost to the overall health and condition of your nails?
We asked Washick and board-certified dermatologist/nail specialist Dana Sternto break down the potential hazards of acrylic nails. Read on to find out what we learned, and why you should probably reconsider getting acrylics the next time you're at the nail salon.
Acrylic nails are traditionally stiff, without any give. Nails are meant to have flexibility. Stern adds, "If the nail hits a hard object, it can more easily separate from the nail bed (onycholysis)."
Artificial nails may heighten risk of infection. "Bacteria that is not completely removed from a nail plate prior to the application of an enhancement can lead to Pseudomonas (bacteria that produces a green pigment, hence the term 'greenies') to grow in the space between the nail plate and the enhancement," says Stern. "Also, damaged nails that have areas of separation can predispose a salon-goer to this issue."
Stern believes there really are no healthy alternatives to adding a false "coat of armor" to your nails. Instead, she suggests taking a break from polish and acrylics in order to achieve strong, youthful nails.