If you have chronically short nails, it’s tempting to get long and stylish acrylics. Beauty blogger Amelia Perrin has a serious acrylic-nail addiction and frequently posts photos of her lengthy artificial talons on Instagram. She gets many compliments on her claws, but wanted to warn people of the negative side effects.

On Twitter, Amelia revealed what happened when she ripped off her acrylics with a painful-looking photo. In another tweet, Amelia said that even the hot water in the shower was painful on her sensitive nails.

Professional manicurist and Gelish Educator Danielle Candido has some good news for beauty junkies that just can’t kick the habit. “You can continuously wear acrylic without damaging your nails – the potential for it damaging your nails depends a lot on the quality of the product and the training of the nail tech,” Candido explained via email. She also warned against using any product containing Methyl Methacrylate (MMA), an illegal monomer liquid which severely damages the nail (but sometimes shows up at discount salons because it is inexpensive).

Another way to protect your natural nail is to make sure your tech doesn’t overfile your nail prior to application; you’ll know it’s being overfiled if you feel any soreness or pain. Most importantly, never rip off your acrylic nails. “It literally pulls pieces of the nail off with it if you remove [them] improperly,” explained Candido.

To make sure your digits stay healthy while wearing acrylics, Candido suggests using cuticle oil daily, twice a day. If your nails are already damaged, use nail treatments to nourish your nails, like the Morgan Taylor Go Ahead and Grow Treatment Base Coat ($6), and give your natural nails a break from the damage.

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