Fingernail Fungus from Acrylic Nails: Causes, Treatment, More

Acrylic Nail Fungus

Acrylic nails are a fashion statement. Most women wear these in the fashion industry, and some would only wear them when they can’t grow out their short nails.

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Even though they are harmless, frequent usage and removal tell a different story. The use of acids and other chemicals can bring about allergic reactions to your body.

If there is any damage to these artificial nails, you risk having a fungal infection. But first, we must understand the type of nail an acrylic one is.

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Types of Nails

These artificial nails are made in two main kinds; acrylic and gel. However, there is a third type called silk. This type of artificial nail is often used to fix damaged nails or ensure the nail tips are more vital.

Acrylic nails are made of plastic material, and it is the most popular choice for most women all over the world.

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It forms quite a hard shell when you mix the powder with liquid. This mixture is then applied to glued-on nail tips with a nail brush.

For preparation, file down your natural nails. This creates a rough enough surface for the nail tips to bond to it.

And since your natural nails grow all the time, you will eventually start to observe a small gap between your nail cuticle and the acrylic nail.

With this, you will have to go back to the nail salon every two weeks to fill the gaps or do it yourself.

The chemicals used in the filler and the filing may weaken your natural nails, making them fragile and loose.

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When it so happens that you already have a fungal infection, artificial nails can make it worse or lead to other issues.

Related Problems

Artificial nails can pose a real threat to your natural nails. An issue you should understand related to this is an allergic reaction. 

The chemicals attached or removed from the acrylic artificial nails can irritate your skin.

You may notice redness of your fingertips, pus oozing out, or even swelling around your fingernails.

Those who use acrylic or artificial nails should undoubtedly have heard this before in their lifestyle with acrylic nails.

Logically, some would argue that from the technical point of view, there is no such thing as fungi and that the root cause behind the nail fungus cannot, in turn, infect the artificial nails.

But it will most definitely affect your natural nails underneath the artificial ones.

The nail fungal infection may go unnoticed for quite a while under acrylic nails as it hides there.

And once the natural nail gets infected, the fungus will thrive as the artificial nails offer a perfect place for them to thrive with just the right conditions: warm, moist, and dark.

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The artificial nails will mask the fungus infection and help it spread to other areas.


When applying an acrylic nail, it usually involves:

  • Altering
  • Thickening
  • Lengthening of your natural nails

Eventually, the process can cause fungus infection between the layers of the nail structure. Nail polish on artificial acrylic nails also has a negative role as the fungi will thrive there due to the perfect environment.

Professional nail technicians will sometimes apply acrylic nails over real natural nails.

The already harboring fungus spores found on your nails make the situation a whole lot worse, and this particular situation promotes the slow decay of your nails.

Furthermore, the various tools used by the nail technicians at the salons may be the actual reason behind the acrylic nail fungus infection. The salon typically uses the same tools for all its clients.

Here, the fungi present in the tools can infect you when the same tools are used on your nails. This checks out as one of the common causes of acrylic nail fungus.

The nail professional’s poorly fitted acrylic nail can also get a nail fungus infection.

Finally, lifting the artificial nails makes it possible to introduce the fungus to your nail. It can thus be classified as also being responsible for this particular problem.

It is expected chiefly when you apply these nails yourself, with no supervision.

Water gets in quickly when the acrylic nails are lifted or are not appropriately fitted over the real natural nails. Thus, this eventually provides a breeding ground for the fungus infection.

In other words, poor fitting of fake nails is also one of the causes of acrylic nail fungus.

Is There a Treatment?

There are several treatment options for the treatment of acrylic nail fungus.

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Nail fungus infection can last for months if it is not treated immediately. The more you wait without treating the infection, the more damage is done.

When the infection occurs, the first action that you should perform is to remove the acrylic nails and trim down the natural nails.

The treatments can be categorized into home treatment and seeking medical attention.

There are also over-the-counter solutions you can try as treatment options.

Some of these treatments use natural or home products in nail fungus treatments.


This is a natural nail fungus remedy that works effectively. White vinegar and Apple Cider vinegar are viral for nail fungus treatment at home, and this is due to their antifungal properties.

The process involves soaking your affected nails in the vinegar solution and water for about half an hour every day.

It would be best to keep applying this technique until you see your acrylic nail fungus results.


This mouthwash product works well for nail fungus treatment. The procedure used with vinegar also applies to this product in fungus nail treatment.

This works for both the toenail fungus and fingernail fungus.

Essential Oils From Plants

With this product, they come in various forms from various plant species.

You can, for instance, use different essential oils like lavender, olive, and jojoba oil.

These natural oils have great antifungal, antiseptic and antibacterial properties that eliminate the fungus.

These oils have been proven to be effective for treating acrylic nail fungus. For over-the-counter options, you can try to use these over the countermeasures for treatment:  Fungavir, Nail-RX, Fungi nix, and Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Antifungal Solution.

They work well and without causing any side effects for the treatment of acrylic nail fungus. As it is always said, prevention is often better than cure.

You can prevent contracting acrylic nail fungus infection by going to a nail salon with a spotless environment and well-sterilized equipment.

When you see one of your acrylic nail liftings or is not fitted well on your fingertip, glue it back immediately to keep dry.

Prepare yourself always and take a glue stick with you in your handbag in case of such emergencies.

Important to note!

Never try acrylic nails if you are in a profession requiring your attention and having your hands wet most of the time.

Repeated contact with water weakens the glue used to attach the artificial nails, and the nails lift in the long run.

How Does Nail Fungus Occur?

You should get a clear picture of the nail fungus that occurs. The artificial acrylic nails are usually attached to the natural nails by gluing them with nail glue.

The nail fungus can grow between the natural and artificial nails, causing the natural nails to either; change color, thicken or rip.

When Can This Happen?

Nail fungus may at times occur in between the natural nail and the artificial one, that is, if these artificial nails are left on your fingertips for more than twelve weeks.

Those nails are more prone to nail fungus infection when left on in a humid, moist environment.

Nail fungus may also occur because you re-attach an artificial nail detached from the natural one with nail glue without cleaning the gap first.

The causal fungus trapped in the nail glue will gradually grow and multiply, damaging your natural nails, resulting in the darkening or formation of pitted natural nails.

How To Get Rid of Nail Fungus

The nail fungus that appears on the artificial acrylic nails may not be as life-threatening. However, if not taken seriously, it may result in the fungus spreading into the natural nails.

This could lead to inflammation, itching, pain, and a cosmetically unpleasant natural nail appearance.

Some people may grow accustomed to ignoring symptoms, making it easier for the infection to spread. Hence, you should always seek immediate care upon noticing early signs.

There is also the home treatment for nail fungus from fake acrylic nails. These include the following:

After this is done, remove the nail. Do not put on another one if you suspect an allergic reaction to the nails.

Always clean – any excess nail glue using both warm water and a nail sponge

If you notice any infesting fungus, get rid of them using home remedies such as tea tree oil, baking soda solution, apple cider vinegar, or mouthwash.


The impact of nail fungus from artificial acrylic nails can be severe to the extent that it can cause the natural nail to detach from its nail bed.

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These Steps Should be Followed:

  1. Clean the wound with warm water or simply mix some salt in water.
  2. Place a thin layer of an antibiotic ointment onto the nail bed.
  3. And finally, cover the wounded nail bed with breathable gauze to provide a moist environment.
  4. Always replace the gauze regularly and prevent it from getting wet.

If it so happens that no home remedies work well for the nail fungus from fake acrylic nails, you can try oral medications.

But note that these medications may cause several side effects such as liver problems. Therefore, be wary of prolonged consumption.

You can also apply an antifungal ointment to the infected natural nail and nail bed to eliminate the causal fungus.

If you want to wear artificial or fake acrylic nails, you can. Just be sure to observe proper precautionary measures to prevent acrylic nail fungus in the first place.

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