Skip to Content

How Does Nail Polish Affect Your Nails?

As we all know, our nails require special care to look and feel their best. From regular trims and moisturizing to preventing breakage, there are many steps you can take to keep your hands looking healthy. But have you ever wondered how does nail polish affect your nails?

I’m going to share exactly how nail polish impacts the condition of your nails and what precautions you can take, to make sure you don’t harm the health of your nails.

How Does Nail Polish Affect Your Nails?

How Does Nail Polish Affect Your Nails?

Nail polish can be bad for your nails, as it can cause nail damage and thinning over time. Nail polishes consist of intricate formulas made with harsh chemicals that damage the outer layer of the nail.

After applying a layer of polish, this product will dry out your nails, making them brittle and more prone to breakage.

Using nail polish frequently will eventually lead to drying out the entirety of your nail beds, which in turn leads to thinning, splitting and other forms of damage.

For best results when it comes to taking care of your nails, it’s best to keep them clean by allowing them natural exposure without any form of coating such as a liquid or powder-based solution like nail polish.

Taking occasional breaks from beautifying your nails is also beneficial for them to recover naturally by replenishing what was lost due to frequent exposure under tough conditions – just make sure you give yourself a few days off in between layers or manicures.

The Role of Chemicals in Nail Polish

While nail polish can provide an attractive sheen, the underlying role of chemicals in nail polishes should not be overlooked, which could make polish bad for your nails. Formaldehyde and toluene are two common ingredients found in many nail polish formulations. 

These chemicals act as hardeners and preservatives, helping enhance the durability and color of the product, respectively.

Unfortunately, exposure to these two compounds has been linked with an increased risk of cancer when exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet rays, making them potentially hazardous components.

Therefore, selecting polishes formulated without these ingredients is essential for minimizing health risks associated with prolonged use.

There are several other ingredients used in the making of regular nail polish that have no known direct health risks, such as fragrance oils, acrylics, polymeric resins, along with artificial colors and pigments for providing lasting color intensity. 

Plus, certain natural oils may also be added to prevent drying and dehydration of nails over extended use periods.

Understanding the Nail Plate and Nail Bed

Your nail plate, which is the hard, visible portion of the nail, and the nail bed, which is the sensitive skin beneath it, can be affected by polish application and removal. The natural keratin within the nail plate may be damaged when polish is removed, thinning the nail and making it susceptible to breakage.

Gel Manicures vs. Traditional Nail Polish: Which Is Worse For Your Natural Nails?

Discoloration and Brittle Nails

Yellow discoloration may occur as a result of long-term polish use. Additionally, using acetone-based polish removers and peeling the polish instead of properly removing it can further contribute to nails becoming thin and brittle.

Gel Manicures vs. Traditional Nail Polish: Which Is Worse For Your Natural Nails?

When deciding between gel or traditional nail polish, it is important to consider which one is worse for your natural nails.

Gel nail polish provides a glossy finish that can last up to several weeks, whereas traditional nail polishes require more frequent application. The main difference lies in how each type of manicure affects the health of your nails

With gel nails, there’s a risk of damaging the natural nails with harsh chemicals and rough filing by the technician if not applied correctly.

If gel or acrylic nails are worn too long, there is an increased likelihood of fungal infections due to moisture trapped beneath them, as well as damage caused by excessive filing during removal.

Wearing artificial enhancements may cause nail thinning due to erosion at the cuticle line because they are not always embedded properly. 

In comparison, while regular polishes typically do not damage your natural nails like gel polish requires, if used frequently and improperly removed over time, they can weaken them and cause discoloration or staining from certain colors (especially dark shades).

To strengthen your nails under either manicures, it’s advised to promote healthy habits such as using cuticle oil around your fingernails along with taking breaks in between applications/removals so that your natural nail beds can rejuvenate themselves.

Why Traditional Nail Polish Can Be Damaging?

How Do I Remove Gel Polish and Other Nail Products Safely?

Following the correct procedure when removing nail polish can help maintain the health of your nails.

Using Acetone for Gel Polish Removal

Acetone is often used to remove gel polish, as it effectively breaks down the layers of the product. However, acetone can be harsh on the nails and can weaken them if used excessively or left on for too long.

Tips from A Professional Manicurist

A professional manicurist can provide expert advice on safely removing gel and other types of nail products. Applying cuticle oil to nourish the nails and surrounding skin after polish removal is a helpful tip that can be utilized to mitigate the long-term adverse effects of nail polish use.

Alternatives to Acetone Nail Polish Remover

If you prefer to avoid using acetone, there are alternatives available such as gentle, non-acetone polish removers. These alternatives may not be as effective in removing certain types of polish, such as gels, but they pose less risk to your nails.

My Nails Are Thin and Brittle After Polish Removal. What Should I Do?

My Nails Are Thin and Brittle After Polish Removal. What Should I Do?

Try applying some nail oil to your nails. Nail oil helps to nourish the nails and keep them healthy.

You can apply it directly onto the nails, or use a brush or q-tip and massage it into the cuticles and around the sides of your finger tips. This will help hydrate and protect your nails from further damage. 

You should also consider using a protective base coat when you paint your nails with polish.

The base coat will help seal and harden your nail surfaces, preventing them from being damaged by repeated applications of polish.

Avoid using any acetone-based removers, which may be too harsh for thin, brittle nails. Instead, opt for sodium laureth sulfate-based removers that are more gentle on the nail’s surface but still get all those stubborn bits out of nooks and crannies without damaging them further.  

Lastly, make sure you’re eating plenty of nutrient rich foods like eggs, fish, milk and poultry – these will help improve the health of your nails in general.

Take multivitamins containing biotin as this vitamin plays an important role in strengthening weak hair follicles along with aiding strong nail growth – both of which can help mitigate thin brittle nails after removal of polish.

How Overuse of Polish Can Lead to Brittle Nails

Overuse of nail polish can, over time, lead to brittle nails. This is because the nature of nail polish itself creates a barrier between the nail and oxygen – and this barrier prevents essential nutrients that promote healthy nails from getting to them.

This can cause the nails to become weaker and more prone to breaking when they are exposed to pressure or trauma.

Improper removal (such as scraping off or picking at dried-on polish) can also strip away natural oils from the nail plate, causing further brittleness and vulnerability.

Wearing dark colors for longer than necessary can stain nail beds with pigmentation that weakens the keratin protein in your nails – which is needed for strong nails.

To avoid this issue, it’s important to remember basic maintenance such as removing all traces of nail polish after two weeks and moisturizing regularly with cuticle oil.

nail technicians working in a nail salon


It’s important to understand how nail polish affects your nails before you go for a manicure. Nail polish can be damaging to your nails if left on for too long or not removed correctly. 

Gel manicures and traditional polishes both have their pros and cons, but it’s best to give your nails natural exposure occasionally so that they can recover from any build-up of polish. Lastly, investing in nourishing cuticle oil and strengthening treatments will help keep your natural nails healthy over time.

Share To Keep This Post For Later!