Common problems that develop with artificial nails

Common problems may develop with artificial nails:

  • Bacterial infection. You may dislodge an artificial nail from the nail bed by bumping it or catching it. Infection can develop in the gap that forms between the two nails, especially if the artificial nail is reglued before a thorough cleaning.
  • Fungal nail infection . This can occur when moisture collects under acrylic nails. It is more common with nails that are left on for 3 months or longer.
  • An allergic skin reaction to the products used to apply the artificial nails. You may develop itching, redness, and swelling around the nail. The reaction may cause the natural nail to separate from the nail bed.

To help prevent problems with artificial nails:

  • Test for a reaction to the artificial nail by having just one nail applied. Wait several days to see whether redness, itching, pain, or rash around or under the nail or separation of the nail from the nail bed develops.
  • Do not apply an artificial nail if the nail or the skin around the nail looks irritated or infected.
  • If an artificial nail does separate from the nail bed, dip your fingertip into rubbing alcohol for 15 seconds before reattaching the artificial nail. This will clean the space between the nails.
  • Do not wear artificial nails for longer than 3 months at a time. Give your natural nails a month to rest before reapplying artificial nails.

Last Updated: November 13, 2008

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