How to Take Care of Your Nail Extensions
Getting your nails done is the first part of it, but it is important to take care of them so they can last as long as possible. We tend to forget and not pay as much attention to our nails as we go through the day. It can be so frustrating when you get a new set done only to get a chip the next day or even a few days later. Yes, the amount of time nail extensions last depends on the quality of work, but you should try your best to take care of your nail extensions, whether acrylic or gel.
Taking good care of your nail extensions will help your natural nails by preventing damage from occurring when you experience trauma to the extensions and keeping your natural nail hydrated will prevent them from becoming brittle.
Taking care of your nail extensions can be summed up in a few points
- Prevent infections
- Stay away from harmful chemicals
- Use cuticle oil
- Fill regularly
- Don’t pick or pull at your nails.
- What you need as an individual
I go over these points in more detail in this article. I can’t stress the importance of taking good care of your nail extensions.
What are the risks of nail infections on nail extensions and how to prevent them
There are a lot of risks when dealing with nail extensions that you should always be mindful of. Here is an article I did on different nail diseases and disorders.
The main type of infection you can get from fake nails is a bacterial or fungal infection that can cause pain to your finger and not allow you to get a new set of nails done for a while.
What causes infection on nail extensions
Nail extensions can start to lift and damage when submerged in chemicals or water. This can cause water and debris to go in between the nail extension and your natural nail. This can result in fungal infection on your natural nails and the surrounding skin.
You might not see any sort of damage or lifting but this is where the problem starts. A small amount of water can enter the lifted area and lay there undisturbed creating the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria. You will only notice when you go to get your nails removed or when your finger starts to hurt, which will be too late.
The same thing can be said when gardening or anything where your hands can get covered in some sort of dirt or chemical.
Please note, some chemicals you should definitely stay away from when you have nail extensions on are:
- Any type of Paint Stripper
- Denatured alcohol
These products can break down the chemical composition of the product (gel or acrylic) on your nails and damage your skin.
How to prevent infection on your nail extensions
The best and basically only way is to first assess the situation and ask yourself.
- Are there any harmful chemicals involved or other harmful elements like dirt?
- Will my hands get covered in said harmful element?
Cuticle oil and its importance
What is cuticle oil
Cuticle oil is a moisturizer that is mainly made out of natural compounds such as vegetable oils. It promotes the growth of your natural nail and prevents damage to your nails which in turn not only improves the health of the natural nail but also improves the appearance of your nails. I would definitely recommend using cuticle oil regularly. Your nails are extremely porous, so if they dry out they will become brittle and can easily chip or break.
How to apply cuticle oil
Put a drop of cuticle oil by the cuticle then just rub it with your finger onto your nail’s sidewalls and under your nails onto your hyponychium.
How often should you use cuticle oil
I recommend using cuticle oil at least once a day, but you can use it as often as you like.
When to fill your nails
Nail extensions don’t last forever, even if we would like them to. Keeping them looking new and fabulous you will have to fill them. Getting a fill on average is about every 2 to 3 weeks, but this can differ from person to person. Some people’s nails grow slowly while others’ nails grow fast.
This is not an exact science. I can’t specify how much your nails will grow in two weeks because people differ. It is up to you to use your own intuition in deciding when a fill will be needed. I only provide a guide and an estimate of 2 to 3 weeks which I have found is the average time in my experience as a nail tech. It is good practice to get your nails filled at least once a month.
The impotence of getting your nails filled
It is also important to get a fill, not just for the looks of it, but nail extensions can start to become painful. This is because the apex moves forward causing the nail to become top-heavy which can result in your nails becoming uncomfortable and more susceptible to damage.
One thing to also take into consideration is that of the length of the nail extensions. For example the longer the nail extension is the quicker you will have to get a fill whereas you can get away longer before having to fill shorter nails.
Don’t pick or pull the nails
When your nails start to grow out it might be tempting to pick and pull on them, especially when they become uncomfortable. You should go for a fill or a soak immediately. If you aren’t able or not feeling like going out to get a soak done, I wrote an article on 5 easy steps to remove your acrylic nails without damaging your natural nails, where I go into detail on the most basic form of removing your acrylic nails and for a bonus, I go over two other not-so-common acrylic nail removing methods.
Dangers of picking and pulling your nails
You might not think much about it but picking and pulling your nails can be very harmful to your natural nails. You are physically ripping layers off of your nail. It might not hurt initially but can be very sensitive afterward. Remember that your nails will not heal themselves and the only way to get rid of damaged parts on your nail is to wait for your nail to grow out.
On average it takes about 6 months for your nail to grow out completely(leaving a new fresh nail on the nail plate). Also, when your nail is severely damaged it will be very thin when it grows out, so if you like to have the product on your natural nails instead of having extensions like tips or sculpture, you might want to take care of your natural nail while it’s still on the nail bed and not yet grown out.
Damaging your nail extensions can also result in it lifting, causing water and other harmful elements to rest in between your natural nail and the gel or acrylic. Your natural nails and fingers can develop infections as I spoke of earlier.
Determine what you need as an individual
You might not be able to handle certain products. It can be a result of allergies or bad habits. When you tend to bite your nails you should consider acrylic nails instead of gel because acrylic tends to be a lot sturdier than gel.
I would also recommend acrylic nails when you have weak or brittle nails due to the same properties as above.
I would recommend gel nails when your natural nails are already strong because the gel is more flexible and softer than acrylic. As a side note, I will also advise you to keep your nails short when you work a lot with your hands or even when you have to take care of an infant.
I have another article on how to grow healthy nails, where I advise on how to grow strong and healthy natural nails. Touching subjects like what your body needs for healthy nails and what your genetics says about your nails.
At the end of the day, it is all about you and your nails. You can do as much research as you like, but if you don’t apply what you have learned, your nail health will stay the same or even deteriorate. A little effort will go a long way and forming a good habit might be difficult at first, but nothing with your time is ever easy. So take care of your nails and have happy healthy nails.