How to Remove Acrylic Nails That Hurt

Acrylic NailsSource:


Acrylic nails are a popular choice for many people who want to enhance the appearance of their natural nails. However, sometimes these artificial nails can cause discomfort or pain. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to know how to safely remove acrylic nails without causing further damage to your natural nails. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of removing acrylic nails that hurt, providing you with useful tips and techniques.

Why Do Acrylic Nails Hurt?

Acrylic Nails PainSource:

Before diving into the removal process, it’s essential to understand why acrylic nails might cause discomfort or pain. There can be several reasons:

1. Incorrect Application: If the acrylic nails were applied incorrectly, they may be too thick or have uneven edges, leading to pressure and pain on your natural nails.

2. Nail Damage: If you accidentally hit or snag your acrylic nails, it can cause damage to your natural nails or even cause them to lift, resulting in pain.

3. Allergic Reaction: Some individuals may be allergic to the chemicals used in acrylic nails, such as the adhesive or monomer. This allergic reaction can manifest as redness, swelling, or pain.

4. Improper Removal: Attempting to remove acrylic nails using improper techniques can cause pain and damage to your natural nails. It’s crucial to follow the correct removal process.

Step-by-Step Guide to Removing Acrylic Nails

Acrylic Nails RemovalSource:

Follow these steps to safely remove acrylic nails that are causing you discomfort:

1. Gather Your Supplies:

Before starting the removal process, make sure you have all the necessary supplies. You will need:

  • Acetone or nail polish remover containing acetone
  • Cotton balls or pads
  • Aluminum foil
  • Orange stick or cuticle pusher
  • Nail file or buffer
  • Moisturizing lotion or oil

2. Prepare Your Workspace:

Find a well-ventilated area with good lighting. Protect the surface you are working on by placing a towel or some paper towels.

3. File the Surface:

Using a nail file or buffer, gently file the shiny top layer of your acrylic nails. This will help the acetone penetrate the nails more effectively during the removal process.

4. Soak the Cotton Balls:

Take a few cotton balls or pads and soak them in acetone or nail polish remover containing acetone. Ensure they are wet but not dripping.

5. Apply the Cotton Balls:

Place the soaked cotton balls or pads directly onto your nails, ensuring they cover the entire nail surface. The acetone will break down the acrylic, making it easier to remove.

6. Secure with Aluminum Foil:

Aluminum FoilSource:

Wrap each finger with a small piece of aluminum foil to hold the soaked cotton balls/pads in place. This will create a more efficient and targeted soaking process.

7. Wait for 15-20 Minutes:

Allow the acetone-soaked cotton balls or pads to sit on your nails for approximately 15-20 minutes. This will give the acetone enough time to break down the acrylic nails.

8. Gently Remove the Foil:

Carefully remove the foil from each finger, taking care not to spill the acetone. You may want to have a paper towel or towel nearby to catch any excess acetone.

9. Push Off the Acrylic:

Using an orange stick or cuticle pusher, gently push off the softened acrylic from your natural nails. Be cautious not to force or pry, as this can cause damage to your nails.

10. File and Buff:

Once the majority of the acrylic has been removed, use a nail file or buffer to gently smooth out any remaining residue or rough edges. Take care not to file too aggressively, as this can damage your natural nails.

11. Moisturize Your Nails:

After removing the acrylic nails, it’s vital to moisturize your nails and cuticles. Apply a generous amount of moisturizing lotion or oil to nourish and hydrate your nails.

Tips and Precautions

Acrylic Nails TipsSource:

Here are some additional tips and precautions to keep in mind while removing acrylic nails:

1. Take Breaks: If you encounter resistance while pushing off the acrylic, take breaks in between and let your nails rest for a few minutes. This will prevent excessive pressure or force on your natural nails.

2. Avoid Forceful Removal: Never forcefully pull or rip off acrylic nails, as this can cause severe damage to your natural nails. Patience and gentle techniques are key.

3. Seek Professional Help: If you are uncertain about removing acrylic nails or experience excessive pain or discomfort, consider seeking assistance from a professional nail technician. They have the expertise to safely remove the nails without causing harm.

4. Use Acetone Nail Polish Remover: While non-acetone nail polish removers are gentle and suitable for regular nail polish, they are not as effective in removing acrylic nails. Opt for an acetone-based nail polish remover for better results.

5. Avoid Cutting or Clipping Acrylic: Cutting or clipping the acrylic nails can be tempting, but it’s best to follow the removal process described above. Cutting the acrylic can lead to further damage and potential injury.


Removing acrylic nails that hurt can be done safely and effectively by following the appropriate steps. It’s essential to be patient, use gentle techniques, and prioritize the health of your natural nails throughout the process. Remember to moisturize your nails afterward to keep them healthy and hydrated. If you encounter any difficulties or experience severe pain or discomfort, consult a professional nail technician for assistance. By following these guidelines, you can remove your acrylic nails without causing further harm to your natural nails.