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Why Do My Nails Burn When I Get Acrylics?

One of the most irritating and unpleasant things you may experience while getting an acrylic manicure is the burning sensation. 

According to scientific theories, this can be due to the heat produced during the ‘exothermic reaction.’ 

Chemicals in polymer and monomer react together and form a bond, resulting in the release of heat energy.

This reaction can ultimately cause a burning sensation over the nails. 

Other reasons could be excessive use of a primer, improper nail preparation, thin nail bed, thick acrylic nails, or the curing process. 

We will discuss each of these causes and their solutions in this blog post. 

So, keep reading till the end. 

Why Do the Acrylics Get Hot Sometimes, Causing My Client’s Fingers to Burn? 

There are two most possible answers to this question. 

The reasons and solutions are on the go for you!

1. Too Much Acrylic Nail Primer Can Cause Nails to Burn

Nail primers are used as the very first product that is directly applied to natural nails. 

It helps in removing the natural oil from the nails to create a rough surface for acrylics to grip on. 

In the nail industry, you will encounter two types of primers: acid-based primers and acid-free primers. 

Acid-based primers contain a high amount of methacrylic acid primer.

This chemical is widely used in nail salons and is most preferred by nail techs because it is a high-quality product and also provides a strong grip on acrylics. 

Whereas acid-free primers are gentle on nails and skin. 

They are in much demand nowadays because they do not cause any reactions on the skin. 

How to Tell if Your Nails Burn From Primers? 

Now you know the answer to your previous question, ‘why do my nails burn when I get acrylics?’


But how to confirm whether the primer is the main culprit or not? 

The primer should only be applied on the nail bed and not at the cuticle area. 

If your nail technician starts applying acrylic nails without letting the primer dry completely, then this will surely cause a burning sensation on your skin (around the cuticle area). 

Our cuticles are thin skin areas. 

If more than the required primer is applied to the nail to cover the cuticle area, then the acrylic liquid won’t allow it to dry later.

This will continue the contact between primer and the cuticle, leading to the heating sensation. 

If this burning sensation continues for a longer period of time, then it will transform into itching or a severe allergic reaction. 

To avoid this burning sensation, the primer should be allowed to dry completely before moving any step further.

2. Thick Acrylics on Nails Can Cause a Burning Sensation

Whenever acrylic powder is mixed with acrylic liquid to form a paste-like structure, a chemical reaction takes place between the two. 

This mixture is then used for applying acrylic nails. 

Also, this reaction releases heat energy and hence is known as an exothermic reaction (as already mentioned above). 

The explanation for the main causes of the burning sensation that you may notice due to acrylics are as follows: 

Thin nails: 

This is the main reason a very thin nail plate allows even the lowest heat to enter your nail bed effortlessly. This heat will come in direct contact with the nerve endings, so you will feel that the amount of heat generated is extremely high. 

A thick layer of acrylic powder: 

The heat also increases if a thick layer of acrylic powder is applied to the nails. This ultimately increases the burning sensation that can directly pass through the nail bed in the skin.

How to Tell if Your Nails Burn From Thick Acrylics? 

There is a clear and obvious answer to this question. 

If you feel a burning sensation right after the acrylics are applied, then it is clear that the heat generated from the acrylic powder is responsible for this burning sensation. 

An exothermic reaction that takes place on your nail beds after the acrylics are applied enters the nail surface, causing a burning sensation (sometimes itching too). 

How to Stop Burning Sensation After Acrylic Nail Primer? 

The burning sensations that are witnessed after the application of acrylic nail primer can be avoided by following some steps: 

1. ADVISE WAITING:-  During nail prep, ask your nail tech to wait until the acrylic nail primer dries completely. Wet primer is more vulnerable to chemical reactions that emit heat.

Once the primer dries out completely, it does not cause much harm to the natural nails as no more heat reaction occurs. 

2. ACRYLIC PRIMER MISUSE:- Using only the required amount of nail primer is to be kept in mind by the nail salon during nail prep. Overly saturated primer covers the cuticle lines, causing a severe itch.

But these are the precautions. 

What to do if you have started facing this burning sensation after liquid primer?

Since nail primer is acidic in nature, we need to use a ‘base to neutralize the chemical reaction.’

Baking soda is there for the rescue!

Soak your hands in a bowl filled with baking soda and warm water solution for two to three minutes. This will reduce the primer burn. 

Use UV light for the curing process of the primers, for a few seconds or as required.

Even after this, allow them to rest and air-dry for a few more minutes so that no liquid is left on your natural nail bed. 

Also, while you get acrylics done, ask your nail service provider to use a medium viscosity glue instead of a regular nail glue in case it is to be applied near the cuticle region. 

How to Stop Burning Sensation After Acrylic Nails? 

You can prevent this heating sensation until the primer is applied to your nail bed. 

But what to do if you feel this burning sensation after the acrylic application is completed?

Is there any way to end this burning sensation immediately? YES, there are a few ideas that you can try to get rid of this hurting. 

If you face such a sensation right after the acrylics are applied, spray alcohol or water on affected nails to get instant relief. 

Any of the above-mentioned liquids can work, depending upon the severity of the heat spike. 

Also, if you have a thin nail bed, then go for shorter acrylic nails. 

This is because they will require less acrylic powder; hence reduced burning sensation will be observed. 

If you have a thin nail bed, you will definitely observe more of this heating sensation. 

A nail file is an easy-to-use instrument required during the manicure process. 

But it is highly recommended that nail technicians only use them as you may put too much pressure, which may lead to dents or cracks. These cracks can allow chemicals to pass into the skin easily.

If you have sensitive skin, this can be a serious problem for you.

Does Acrylic Burn or Melt?

Acrylic nails are highly flammable. They can catch fire easily, and once they do, they start melting and dripping severely. Acrylic nails burn to the end, regardless of the source of flame present or removed. 

But they do not cause any severe burning sensation. 

But if they do, then immediately tell your nail technician about the problem. 


All of us have different tolerating capacities. There is no instrument to measure the burning sensation you face while getting your acrylic nails done. 

You may or may not feel a little of it, but if this burning stays for hours, it can be a problem to think about. 

The most possible reason could be that the primer is still wet, which will cause burning and itching on and around the cuticle skin. 

Dipping your nails in warm water and gently scrubbing them with a nail brush can help as it will remove any chemicals and dust left on your cuticles even after you get your acrylic nails done. 

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