Here's What Really Happens If You Wear Artificial Nails For Too Long

If you're still too uncomfortable to make the trek to the nail salon, trying to save a bit of money, or your go-to manicurist is out of town, there's still a way to get the same results at home without running the risk of smearing or smudging your polish. Enter: Artificial nails. With a quality set of press-ons, you can replicate the look of an Insta-worthy mani all by yourself, for a fraction of the price. "Press-ons are quick, easy, and hassle-free," NY-based nail artist, Gracie J, tells Allure. There's just one, tiny problem. Press-on nails aren't exactly "damage-free." Incorrectly removing press-ons can cause an "uneven, discolored, and peeling nail," according to board-certified dermatologist, Dana Stern (via Allure).


The safest way to remove faux nails is to soak them in acetone — this will loosen up the glue (via HuffPost). If you're worried that the harshness of the acetone will dry out your skin, you can soak your nails in water or use the angled side of an orangewood stick to remove your press-ons. "Gently slide it under the press-on, alternating from one side of the nail to the other to loosen the bond on both sides," Kelley Baker, a licensed manicurist in San Francisco tells HuffPost. "The press-on should pop off, but if it doesn't, don't force it."

Don't forget to let your nails breathe

While artificial nails can last anywhere from one-to-two weeks (via Revelist), that doesn't mean you should spring for a touch-up each week. Instead, the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends letting your nails breathe, as frequent fill-ins or replacement nails can lead to damaged, brittle nails. What's worse? That oh-so-familiar gap that continues to grow as a new nail develops is a breeding ground for bacteria and may cause a nail infection (via the Mayo Clinic). Having moisture underneath the nail could also cause an infection. "Any time water is trapped between your natural nail and an enhancement, whether it's a press-on, acrylic or gel, there is a risk of infection," Baker tells HuffPost.


If you apply your press-ons as directed (there should be instructions on the packaging), are careful during the removal process, and allow your nails the time that they need to breathe and heal, you shouldn't have a problem.