Does Nail Polish Make Nails Grow Slower? (Explained)

Switching up your nail polish color is a great way to keep your overall look fresh.

Whether you change your nail color with the season or whenever you want a change, there is one thing that we are all striving to do. This is to ensure that we are improving the health of our nails.

When it comes to wearing nail polish, are we harming our nails? More specifically, will wearing nail polish make your nails grow slower?

Here’s How Nail Polish Affects Your Nails:

Wearing nail polish should not affect the rate at which your nails grow, but it can affect your nail health. If you wear nail polish too often, you can cause your nails to become brittle and weak. This can break them easier, making it harder to grow out your nails.

Does Nail Polish Slow Down Nail Growth?

While wearing nail polish is great for showcasing some style, many people wear it in the hopes of protecting their natural nails. When it comes to nail growth, can wearing nail polish slow it down?

Growing out nails to be long and elegant takes a very long. Nails only grow millimeters monthly. However, it just isn’t the case when nail polish slows down nail growth.

This is because nail polish is meant to sit on top of the nail and not interfere with the growth at all. Nails grow out of the base of the nail where the cuticles are located.

Once new cells grow under the nail base, nails will extend out of the base. So, wearing polish on top of the nail will not affect the rate it grows.

But, as mentioned before, it has a lot to do with the condition of your nail. Nails that are brittle or weak means that they are more prone to breakage and chipping. Brittle, or soft, nails grow much slower than stronger nails.

So, while nail polish won’t slow growth, it may damage already weak nails.

Do Nails Grow with Nail Polish On?

Nail polish plays a very limited role when it comes to how your nails will grow.

This is why you can expect your nails to continue growing whether or not you are wearing nail polish. The best part is that you can watch your nails grow while you are wearing nail polish.

Since nails grow out of the base of the nail, if you wear nail polish for a long time, you will start to see the new nail growth push out your manicure. You may see a small halo of your natural and naked nail growing out from the base, which is usually a good indicator that it is time for a fresh manicure.

While regular nail polish won’t affect how your nails grow, a gel manicure may have a different effect. Gel polish sits differently on the nail and creates a barrier between the environment and your natural nail.

Beauty experts say that wearing gel nail polish will help your nails to grow faster and stronger, which is unlike regular nail polish. 

Wearing a gel manicure often will keep protecting your nails which will help to strengthen them underneath the manicure. The main reason a gel polish differs from traditional nail polish is that gel polish needs to be cured under UV light.

The UV light hardens the polish to the top of your nail, creating almost a second nail on the top. This means that over time, you can expect the strength and health of your nails to get better and better, which will help to promote new growth.

Can Nail Polish Protect Your Nails While They Grow?

Wearing nail polish can absolutely protect your nails while they grow.

This is because the polish creates a barrier on top of your nail that helps to protect it from the elements. More specifically, nail polish protects nails from the sun’s harmful rays. While we expect the sun to damage parts of our body, like our skin, while not protected, we don’t tend to think about our nails.

Nail polish can help reflect the sun’s rays which will help with certain damage like discoloration.

Several natural elements affect our overall nail health, but did you know that you do everyday things that hurt your nails? Most commonly, you will see damage to your nail when doing household chores like washing the dishes.

Dish soap and cleaning supplies are full of drying chemicals and can strip your nail of essential oils that are made to protect them. However, wearing nail polish reduces the amount of exposure to these chemicals on your actual nail.

Along with cleaning, other beauty things like hairspray and even using a hair dryer can also damage our nails.

Since nail polish will completely cover the nail itself, wearing it reduces the risk of damage done by everyday activities. However, it is still important to remember to protect your cuticle.

Since nails grow out of the nail base where cuticles form, damage to this area can greatly reduce the rate at which your nails will grow.  This is why it is important to take care of your nail base by trimming your cuticles along with using nourishing nail oil to keep the skin moisturized.

It’s also worth mentioning that not all guys find nail polish attractive.

Can Nail Polish Harm Your Nail Growth?

While it is very unlikely that the nail polish you are wearing will not change how your nails grow, there is one exception.

As mentioned, it all depends on the health of your nails before you put on polish. So, if your nails are in rough shape before painting them with nail polish, they could potentially slow the growth of your nail. However, it has little to do with the nail polish itself.

Nails that are weak and brittle tend to crack and break more than stronger nails. To properly give yourself a manicure to make your nail polish last longer, you must file your nails and clean them with some nail polish remover.

This process can stress your already weak nails, affecting how they grow.

Also, to remove the nail polish for a color change, you will have to either use nail polish remover or acetone. Both of these removers are harsh and can strip your nails of nutrients.

If you are trying to actively grow out your weak nails, you could be slowing the process down by using these chemically enriched removers.

Are Nails Healthier Without Polish?

If you notice that your nails are becoming weaker and more yellow over time, you may think that the nail polish is the culprit, but chances are the health of your nails has nothing to do with your nail polish. Overall, nail polish won’t affect your nails’ health, good or bad.

The damage you see on your nails has much more to do with the process and the care of your nails when you are not wearing polish. This is especially true for people who follow “nail trends.”

One bad trend involves wearing nail extensions or acrylic nails. Doing this creates a lot of stress not only on your nail but also on the cuticle.

This is because, along with having to go through a long process of prepping the nail, you also will have extensions attached using glue that will not only dry out nutrients but can also remove the outer surface of your nail, which can leave it to become weak or brittle.

So, when it comes to caring for your nail health, wearing only nail polish is one of the safest trends to follow.

If you worry about your nails getting weaker, don’t rush to throw out your favorite polishes. Just make sure to care for your nails and give them a little TLC at least once a week.

By adding a nail care routine to your beauty lifestyle, you can improve the health of your nails over time. Best of all, you can do this without skipping the polish, which means you can still showcase your style.

Final Thoughts

Giving up things in the name of health is a real bummer.

With a healthy set of nails, you should rest easy in knowing that nail polish is not hurting your nails in any way. This is especially true when it comes to how fast or slow you find your nails are growing.

So, go out, grab all of the summer’s hottest colors, and keep expressing yourself, knowing that your nails will be none the wiser.

Reference Links:

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

How To Make Your Nails Grow Faster

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