Q: Why Do My Nails Hurt When I Take Nail Polish Off? And The Solution Thanks to Essie

By Beaut.ie | January 9 2012 | 15 Comments

nails

Tina Tweeted, @beautie why do my nails always hurt/feel uncomfortable after I remove nail polish? Is this normal?

Have to say, this is a new one on me, and judging by the amount of people who joined in the conversation following Tina’s Q on Twitter and then based on my subsequent searches, it seems you’re not alone. Checking that she wasn’t using an acetone-based nail polish remover, which could have been the culprit, I was stumped. And when I’m stumped, I contact an expert, in this case Mink’s Kate Verling, a woman who knows her way around a posh polish or two. Here’s what Kate had to say.

“It is always a hard one to pinpoint as acetone is often considered the biggest culprit for causing damage to the first layer of the nail bed. Hence so many people complaining of aching or sore nails when everlasting polish or Shellac is removed.” So, what else could it be? “To me that sounds like the polish remover is simply exposing the nail back to its natural state, and it has become a little sensitive,” Kate reasoned. “This will only happen when you polish your nails very regularly without a break, or if you are not in the habit of using a good quality base coat.” Aha, now we’re getting to it.

“The colour pigments present in polishes can seep into the nail causing yellowing and sensitivity. For me, a good base coat is the mecca of keeping nails healthy when polishing regularly!”

If it’s the remover that’s causing the issue, she’s got some good news there too. “There are some excellent natural remover options available now that are using ingredients like eucalyptus oil, to remove polish instead of all those awful chemicals.” Try the Essie Naturally Clean range. “Some of the products in the range are pricey,” Kate warns, adding, “but I love the mini (€6) and large (€15) removers as they are 100% natural – so no stripping of the nail. Perfect for avid polish fans as I see a big difference when I use it regularly to remove my polish – like everything really!”

So – there you go. Essie products, including basecoats and the Naturally Clean removers are available at Mink salons, www.mink.ie, or online.

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15 Replies to "Q: Why Do My Nails Hurt When I Take Nail Polish Off? And The Solution Thanks to Essie"

  • BerG says:

    This is a very interesting topic. Have noticed that my nails are not in great condition after the onslaught of polish one after the other over the Christmas season. They are tender and slightly yellow even though i had used a good basecoat.
    Read in a newspaper beauty column yesterday to leave at least 3 days of bare nails to let them breathe and so recover. Also to use a cutical oil and rub it into nails. This should help matters as well.
    Have been doing this for the last couple of nights and it seems to be working.

  • Aisling Aisling says:

    These points make sense – we do lots of things to our nails that cause damage – I’m in the habit of just ripping nail wraps off which I know is doing my nails no good and is making them split.

    What exactly did she mean by “bringing nails back to their natural state” do you know?

  • Atkin says:

    Over buffing the nails may also be a cause of sensitivity. My nails ache after I buff them.

  • Atkin says:

    Over buffing the nails may also be a cause of sensitivity. My nails ache after I buff them.

  • Ola says:

    I just bought a bottle on eBay, straight after reading this post ;) Thanks so much for the tip off!

    I have terrible nails (brittle, splitting, breaking, you name it) and I’m sure nail polish remover isn’t helping – I’ll try anything to make them better whilst still being able to use nail polish :)

    Can’t wait to receive this, it’s got great reviews all over the net – how have I never heard of this?!

  • This sounds great! I must admit hardly ever leaving my nails bare but they’re in good(ish) nick.

    I only discovered over Christmas Mavala’s Super Base and I’m converted already. It goes on cleanly and the polish literally sticks to it. It’s improved my polish longevity too, I got 9 days out of one mani. 9 DAYS!!!

  • Ola says:

    Huh, upon further inspection, it turns out that this remover contains acetone.. weird!

    Ingredients: Acetone, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Eucalyptus Species Leaf Oil, Limonene (Sweet Pea Parfum/Fragrance), Alcohol Denat, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Denatonium Benzoate

    (source – another blog)

    Not so sure I should have bought it anymore, but we’ll see how it fares.

  • miffyonline says:

    Ola, the second ingredient is glycerin which mixes well with acetone and makes it gentler. I use Zoya Remove + and it has similar ingredients and is tough on polish but gentle on nails. FWIW, nails are dead layers of skin and do not need to breathe. Ever. Your cuticle and matrix (above nail and under first knuckle) do however benefit from moisturizer, oils etc. For example white spots in your nails are caused by knocks to the nail when it’s being formed and not from lack of vitamins.

  • Ola says:

    Miffy, thanks for that! I did think so, but wasn’t sure – it is good to hear confirmation :)
    Then again, is it ultimately gentler than an acetone-free remover? Just wondering! :)

    And all this ‘breathing’ through nails.. I don’t know why lots of articles still keep on repeating that!

  • Cazzy says:

    Ola – I think whatever replaces acetone in non-acetone remover is more of an unknown quantity than acetone. Yes in large quantities Acetone can be dangerous, but the amount you use on your nails is negligible, especially compared to the amount you’d be exposed to in industrial labs. Also, I find that I use way more non-acetone remover, than acetone based so I’m exposing myself to it way longer and in higher quantities, so I’ve decided to stick with acetone based remover.

    Also nails are dead so leaving them to breathe is unneccessary, but a bit like hair you want to retain any oils in them so they don’t become dry and brittle. There is a school of thought out there that keeping them painted keeps in the oil, giving you stronger nails. This sounds to me like it makes sense, but although I studied science I never once took a biology course, so maybe it’s rubbish!

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