Q&A

Is acrylic causing curling nails?

Q.

I have an acrylic client whose nails have been healthy for many years. Recently, one of her thumbnails has begun to curl upward, about ¾ of the way up from the cuticle, toward the tip, but still well into the nail bed area. Each time I see her, it has curled more. I keep the nail trimmed as short as possible to avoid her pulling it on accidentally, and I keep it capped with acrylic (she doesn’t want me to remove the acrylic unless I absolutely have to.) It seems like the acrylic is not adhering to her thumbnail as well as it should. I don’t know if it’s because it’s short and she’s using it differently, or if it has something to do with the curling. Please advise.

A.

The curling upward of the nail could be a reaction to the long-time use of the acrylic product. Therefore, despite the fact that the client would like to keep the artificial nail on, I recommend against that. At the very least, you should remove the acrylic from the affected thumb and allow for a reasonable period of time to see of the distorted nail corrects itself (about 4-6 weeks), which it very may well do if the problem is related to the acrylic. If it does not improve then there are two possibilities. One is that there is some scarring in the nail bed as a result of the long-term use of the acrylic, or it’s a completely different problem unrelated to the acrylic in which case a dermatologist’s evaluation should be sought to determine the cause of the distortion. I don’t think that it’s a good idea to cap the nail with acrylic because if the problem is related to the acrylic product, this will cause the condition to worsen. -- The Nail Doctor

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