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Why Do Acrylic Nails Turn Yellow? [and How to Get Rid of It]

Whenever you get a new set of acrylic, you take care of them as babies!

Keeping them away from hot water, avoiding products with acetone, saying no to high heat, etc., you may still notice that they start turning yellow after some time.  

You may wonder why this happens or what you can do to cure or prevent them from getting more yellow. 

This article may help you answer how to keep your acrylic nails from turning yellow. 

Why Did My Acrylic Turn Yellow?

The very first and obvious question that will come to your mind is, why did they turn yellow? 

Your acrylic nail may turn yellow due to several reasons. 

The problem may start from the very beginning at the nail salon only. 

They might have used any expired or low-quality product while applying your acrylics. 

Even this can be possible that you accidentally get in contact with a dye or colored item that left its stain on your nails. 

Smoking can also be one of such reasons. 

Sometimes these yellowed acrylics occur due to high UV radiations, causing tanning on the nails.  

The Salon

The salon is the first place where your nails go for the acrylic treatment. 

There can be two most common reasons because of why your nails got a yellow stain.

Either they mixed and used two old and new products, respectively, or the UV light caused tanning. 

Prolonged Storage of an Acrylic Polymer Next to a Monomer

Storing one product next to the other for a longer period clearly means they are not compatible enough.

Even if polymer and monomer are placed in different containers but on the same shelf, they can easily contaminate or react. 

They should always be stored in an air-tight container, in a dark place, particularly away from direct sunlight. 

Incompatibility of acrylic polymer with a monomer can cause discoloration of nails. 

Mixing Old Monomers With New Monomers

While applying acrylic nails, a salon must not mix old and new products regardless of the brand.

Even if the products belong to the same brand, they should not be mixed together. 

The reason behind this is that the chemicals can react not only to other chemicals but to the container as well. 

For say, your nail tech might have mixed old and new monomers or polymers together. 

Or things can get even worse if they mix old monomers with acrylic polymer or vice versa. If this reaction of the two chemicals continue to take place over a long time the yellowing effect can be seen much earlier. 

Not Properly Sealing the Nail

If the nails are not sealed properly, then there becomes a space for bacteria to enter. Moisture gets trapped in between the space, causing fungal infections. 

Clear nail polish can be a great sealant if such a problem occurs. 

Not Allowing the Primer to Dry Before Applying Nail Enhancements

There are three types of nail primers available in the market. 

Acid-based primers (contains methacrylic acid or MAA), non-acid-based (contains a small quantity of acid other than MAA) and last one is acid-free primer (does not contains any acid). 

Primers form the base of acrylic nails. 

If the base is strong, the structure will remain as it is. 

They should be allowed to dry completely. 

If not done so, your nails would become more vulnerable to capture moisture and can further lead to fungal or bacterial infections. 

Using a Low-quality Monomer

Monomer liquid when combined with acrylic powder, forms the power-house of the acrylic nails. 

A low-quality monomer gets directly absorbed in the nail bed. 

This can cause an allergic reaction. 

Monomers having a high content of MMA are considered to be low-quality products. 

Therefore, they should be checked beforehand. 

Using Old or Incompatible Products

Using old or expired products can definitely cause yellowing of the nails because the chemicals present in them start reacting with everything that comes in contact. 

Similarly, two or more incompatible products together lead to yellow nails. 

Using a Product That Does Not Have Uv Protection

Make sure that if your nail technician is using a UV lamp to cure the acrylic manicure, it must have inbuilt UV protection. 

These UV rays can cause yellowing of the acrylics and even cause tanning to your natural nails. 

Especially in summers, they can be much more harmful to your nail bed.

Using a Contaminated Brush or Brush Cleaner

The yellowing of acrylic nails is generally a clear indication of chemical contamination. 

This contamination occurs because the monomer is acidic and reacts with paper towel residues while cleaning extra products. 

Hence, to avoid this situation, you may use a cloth towel. 

The cloth towel does not leave any residue nor reacts with the liquid acrylic. 

Similarly, the particles of reacted paper may either dissolve or settle at the bottom of the container where the cleaner is kept. 

They would stick on the brush every time you dip it in for cleaning. 

Washing and taking care of your acrylic brushes as per the manufacturer’s direction plays a great role here. 

Primer on Top of Acrylics

Nail primers contain harsh chemicals that must be applied to your natural nails before applying the acrylic paste to prevent any chipping or peeling of the manicure. 

This primer is applied to your acrylic nails again during the refill process. 

It is advisable for nail technicians to wipe off the excess primer as soon as possible, or else it will damage the existing acrylic nails. 

Personal Reasons

Not only salon but your lifestyle and habits can also be a factor that may cause the yellowing of acrylics. 

A few of such factors are mentioned below. 

Smoking, smoking, smoking

Nicotine present in cigarettes is the most common cause that is observed in smokers of yellowing of their acrylic or natural nails. 

Nicotine stains leave a great impact on natural nail health. 

The only solution to this problem is to leave smoking. 

It is observed that the ones who left smoking have seen a great reduction in nail discoloration issues.

Tanning in natural sunlight or in a tanning salon 

Getting fake or artificial tanning is a fashion nowadays. 

While you are in a tanning salon, lying under a tanning bed, it is always advised to cover your acrylic nails with the help of a towel. 

This will help in protecting the nail enhancements from getting tanned. 

Food staining

There are certain food items that contain a high amount of yellow pigment. 

Food items such as mangoes, foods, or curries with a heavy amount of turmeric, fast foods with mustard, etc are considered to be the main culprits for yellow stains on nails. 

To prevent this issue, wash your hands and nails carefully using soap and a nail brush to remove any pigmentation. 

This is the easiest and fastest way to remove discoloration caused due to food stains. 

To prevent your acrylic nails from any further pigmentation, you may wear gloves while having certain foods to avoid direct contact. 

How to Get Rid of Yellow Tint on Acrylic Nails?

Now since you know the reasons behind the yellowing of your acrylic nails, you might wonder how to get rid of them. 

Numerous home remedies are available for removing the yellow tint from your nails.

The below-mentioned methods can work well if the stain isn’t too bad, or there are no other problems such as fungal infection, nail brittleness, and so on.

Using lemon juice, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and whitening toothpaste are a few of them. 

While these methods can help a lot, the process can be complex.

Lemon Juice

Both kinds of lemon juice (fresh or bottled) can be used. 

Pour the juice into a large bowl to get your nails easily submerged in it. 

Let them soak for ten to fifteen minutes. 

Gently scrub your nails with an old toothbrush. 

Using nail brushes can be an alternative to toothbrushes. 

Repeating this method daily will gradually give you the desired results. 

Since lemon juice is drying, wash your hands with water and apply any good moisturizer for hydrating nails and skin. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

You can use hydrogen oxide to remove yellow nails from your life in two ways. 

1. Mix one part of hydrogen peroxide with four parts of water. 

Dip and soak your nails in the diluted solution for about ten to fifteen minutes. 

2. Make a paste of 2.5 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of hydrogen oxide. 

Spread this paste on your nails evenly and let sit for 3-5 minutes. 

Then wash it off with plain water. 

Do not forget to use cuticle oil for moisturization, regardless of your chosen method. 

Whitening Toothpaste

This method works the best for the yellow stains that have occurred immediately and not for the ones that are caused due to salon’s mistake. 

Whitening toothpaste contains peroxide that helps remove the stains as it works on our teeth. 

Take some toothpaste on an old or new toothbrush and gently scrub your nails with it. 

Rinse your hands after a few minutes and apply a moisturizer. 


End of all the stains: BLEACH!

It is highly recommended that you try the other methods first as this one can be rough on your body skin. 

Also, do not use this method on daily basis as it can cause severe long-term health hazards. 

Mix 1 tablespoon of bleach in 1 cup of water. 

Make sure that no other ingredients are added to it. 

Dip your stained nail in it and gently scrub by using a toothbrush pre-dipped in the mixture. 

How to Keep Your Acrylic Nails From Turning Yellow?

There are two places that make vulnerable environment for yellowing nails. 

Your home and the salon. 

As we know the most common causes behind staining of acrylic nails from both places, now you might wonder how to prevent the yellowing of your nails. 

At Salon

1. Before you decide to get acrylic manicure, read the details and application steps beforehand so that you know whether they are doing things the right way or not. 

2. Ask your nail tech how old the polymer and monomers are and don’t allow them to mix and apply the old ones. 

3. Make sure that the acrylic nails are sealed properly so that no gap is left unfilled. 

If there is some, either ask them to re-do it or to apply clear nail polish on it. 

At Home

1. Do not smoke or reduce it as much as possible. 

2. Wear gloves while having food that can transfer stains. This will help avoid direct contact between the acrylics and the food. 

3. While using self-tanners or under tanning beds, do wear gloves to avoid yellowing nails. 

In case your acrylics have turned completely yellow and you don’t have time to get them redone, just apply nail polish on them. Use a darker shade to hide the discoloration of your nails. 


Acrylics can turn yellow due to ‘n’ number of reasons. 

It can be a fungal infection, improper removal, low-quality nail products or something else that make acrylics turn yellow. 

There are ways to prevent them, both at salon and at home. 

Using the proper methods and quality products at the salon and taking proper care of them at home can reduce the chances of pigmentation to a great level. 

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