Does Nail Polish Make Your Nails Weaker? (Explained)

Wearing nail polish is a way to show off your style and personality.

Some women wear nail polish on occasion, while some wear nail polish all the time. However, wearing it all the time can have negative consequences.

Here is How Nail Polish Makes your Nails Weaker:

When applying nail polish, you let your nails get exposed to chemicals like acetone, which can weaken them over time. Applying and removing nail polish also involves aggressive scraping and buffing of your nails, which can make them brittle. 

Do Some Nail Polishes Weaken Your Nails?

In general, wearing nail polish weakens your nails. This is because of the chemicals used when applying nail polish and the pressure added to nails when the nail polish is removed.

Some nail polish types are more harmful to your nails than others. These are gel nail polish and power dip nail polish.

Here is how these types of nail polish can harm your nails:

Gel Nail Polish

Gel nail polish is a type of nail polish that is applied and then cured to instantly dry and harden it.

For women who like doing sports or any activity that may cause the nail to chip, gel nail polish is their go-to type of nail polish. This is because gel nail polish does not easily come off.

However, gel nail polish can be very harmful to the nails.

Gel nail polish does not come off by just rubbing acetone all over it. The nails have to be soaked in acetone, and then they have to be scraped and buffed to completely remove the polish.

Wearing gel nail polish for a prolonged time can make your nails very brittle. It can also make them dry.

Additionally, gel nail polish can be harmful to the skin. Applying it requires curing the nails under a UV lamp, which increases the risk of skin cancer.

Powder Dip Nail Polish

Powder nail polish is different from the others because it comes in powder form. This nail polish generally involves dipping the nails into powder.

Powder dip nail polish is not prone to wear and tear and can be difficult to remove.

The type of nail polish involves using a bonding polish so that the powder adheres to the nails. This bonding polish is made of resin, usually made up of harmful components used in superglue.

After applying the bonding polish, the acrylic powder is applied, followed by an activator. The activator is a liquid made up of chemicals that hardens and solidifies the nail polish.

Removing powder dip nail polish involves a tedious process like gel nail polish removal. It also involves the use of an electric nail file to make sure that there is no residue left on the nails.

Because of this difficult removal process, powder dip nail polish can severely damage the nails and the cuticles.

Do Nails Need To “Breathe?”

After wearing the same nail polish for weeks, you may notice your nails turning yellow. Some say that this is because nails need oxygen, which they cannot get when nail polish is on top.

But this is not true. Technically, nails do not need to “breathe” because their oxygen supply comes from the blood that flows through your body.

However, just because nails do not need to “breathe” does not mean they do not need breaks between wearing nail polish.

Nails need to have a break in between because having back-to-back nail processes can weaken your nails and make them brittle over time. While the nail polish itself does not damage your nails, the process of removing, buffing, and scraping nail polish can cause damage to your nails and cuticles.

In addition, whenever you get your nails done, you consistently expose your nails to chemicals like solvents which can be harmful over time.

So in between manicure and pedicure sessions, take some breaks and let your nails rest. The recommended duration for letting your nails rest is three to four weeks. This is to let the discoloration fade.

What Happens If You Wear Nail Polish All The Time?

While wearing nail polish always seems fun, it can harm your nails over time, especially if you like matching it to your outfits.

Wearing nail polish can cause serious health issues on your nails. Many nail and skin experts recommend taking breaks between wearing nail polish.

Here are the effects of wearing nail polish all the time:


Wearing nail polish for a prolonged time can cause the pigments to soak into the nail’s top layers.

This can foster the growth of bacteria, fungus, yeast, mold, and mildew underneath the nail plate, which can cause long-term problems.


Wearing nail polish always lets chemicals in the nail polish seep into the nail bed, which can cause your nails to split and peel.

This can also cause some discoloration on the nails.

Some nail polish contains irritating chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate, and these can cause harmful reactions on your skin and nails.

Brittle Nails

Wearing gel nail polish and powder dip nail polish can make the nails brittle because the removal process is strenuous on the nails.

Prolonged wearing of nail polish can cause damage to the skin tissue and cuticles, and some of these damages are irreversible.

How Can You Strengthen Your Nails?

Just like any other part of your body, you need to care for your nails. When nails become severely damaged, they may grow back. This is why nail care is important.

The best way to care for your nails is to strengthen them.

Here are things you can do to strengthen your nails:

Take Vitamins

Eat vitamin B foods like cooked eggs, beans, peas, and fish.

Biotin is one of the B vitamins that can help strengthen the nails. You can also take vitamin B supplements.

Wear Gloves

Wear gloves when washing dishes, cleaning the house, or doing any chore that can get your hands wet. This is because prolonged exposure to water can make your nails dry and brittle.

Also, keep your hands out of the water as much as possible when taking a bath.

Drink Water/Eat Healthy

Drink the recommended daily intake of water and keep yourself hydrated. When dehydrated, your nails can become dry, weak, and brittle.

Have a healthy and balanced diet to ensure your body gets all the important vitamins and minerals.

Use a Base Coat

Use a base coat when applying nail polish.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Avoid using nail polish that contains harsh chemicals. There are lots of nail polish brands out there that use non-toxic substances in their products.

Avoid using nail polish remover that contains acetone, as it can damage nails over time.

When using hand sanitizers, try not to get them on your nails. Hand sanitizers contain alcohol and other substances that can dry your nails and make them brittle over time.

Give your Nails a Break

Give your nails a break and be nail-polish-free for a week or two between manicures and pedicures.

Allow them to strengthen back up before you continue to add more chemicals or adornments.

Clip your Nails

Do not let your nails grow too long. Long nails are more prone to breaking and chipping, while short nails are known to be less brittle.

Care for your Hands

Avoid using your nails as tools for opening stuff, like a lid or a can of soda. Please don’t break your nails when you can protect them!

Also, use hand cream or hand lotion on your hands regularly. This ensures that your hands and nails stay hydrated.

What Else Weakens Your Nails?

Apart from wearing nail polish and removing them, other things can weaken your nails.

In general, chemicals can weaken your nails. This includes substances found in alcohol, hand sanitizers, cleaning solutions, and other products are commonly seen in the house.

Weak nails are a result of too much dryness and lack of moisture. In short, the key to having strong and healthy nails is to keep them moisturized and prevent them from coming in contact with chemicals.


A Look At The Effects Of Nail Polish On Nail Health And Safety

How To Tell If Your Nails Need A Break From Polish

How To Grow Stronger, Healthier Nails, According To Dermatologists

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