How Does an Acrylic Nail Work?

General Overview

acrylic nails are the latest procedure in manicures, and have been gaining in popularity for the past several years. Acrylic nails are artificial nails that are glued on to the natural nail and fortified with a powder-and-liquid formula. Many people believe that acrylic nails strengthen the natural nail, making it less likely to break or weaken. Acrylic nails are often chosen by people who are unable to grow their own natural nails and want to have longer nails. Other people choose acrylic nails to curb their nail-biting habit.

How It Works

A nail technician uses super glue or another strong adhesive to attach a plastic artificial nail directly to the tip of the natural nail. The rest of the nail is made by mixing a particular powder and liquid together. Two types of liquids are typically used in the mixture: ethyl methacrylate and methyl methacrylate. Ethyl methacrylate is the more expensive liquid that also gives the best results, while methyl methacrylate is the cheaper version and is known to have adverse effects. The mixture is applied to the nail with a brush and left to dry. As it dries, the mixture hardens and becomes extremely tough to the touch. Most acrylic nails need to be professionally removed because they adhere so strongly to the natural nail.

Tips and Warnings

Excessive application of acrylic nails can damage the healthy natural nail underneath by weakening it and making it very brittle. Furthermore, opting for the cheaper methyl methacrylate used to create acrylic nails can result in serious nail damage and infections. The only reason it is preferred by some nail technicians and customers is its cost-efficiency. However, in the long run, it is best to opt for the more expensive option to avoid damaging the natural nail and to ward off any possibly serious infections. Removal of the acrylic nails should also be done by a professional, to minimize the breaking off of the natural nail.