Can Acrylic Nails Cause Fingernail Fungus?

Acrylic nails are a fashion piece that many people love to wear to make a statement or show off their style. Still, many first-time acrylic nail wearers and even experienced wearers wonder can acrylic nails cause fingernail fungus?

Many people associate nail fungus with toenails and are unaware that fingernails can also develop fungus. Yes, acrylic nails can promote fingernail fungus growth. In fact, according to Healthline, nail fungal infections appear quite frequently in those who wear acrylic nails. 

That’s the simple answer, of course. While acrylic nails can make you feel like the next Kylie Jenner, you need to know how to take care of them to prevent fungus from growing under the nails as well as the signs to look for if you suspect you have nail fungus and how to treat it if you do, which will all be covered in this article.

Connection Between Acrylic Nails and Fingernail Fungus 

We use our fingernails every day for many different tasks. As such, our fingernails are exposed to a lot of dirt, bacteria, dead skin, and grime, all of which can contribute to unhealthy nails and a potential for fungi to grow.

When moisture is trapped underneath your acrylic fingernails, it can also promote fungi growth. Fortunately, most of these infections are minor and do not require medical care. Instead, you can treat them yourself at home or wait for them to clear up on their own.

However, once in a while these infections can become severe and may require a prescription of antifungal medication.

Signs of Nail Fungus in Acrylic Nails

There are a few symptoms to look out for if you’re concerned about nail fungus infections. The most common symptoms include: 

  • Thickening nails
  • Discolored nails that are white, yellow, or brown 
  • Brittle or ragged nails
  • Nails that are deformed or misshapen 
  • A noticeable odor from your nails 

While most of these signs are minor, there are some signs that could point to the infection worsening such as nails that are separating from the nailbed and nails that have become significantly thick, discolored, or deformed. If you notice these symptoms, it is recommended to consult your doctor. 

How to Prevent Nail Fungus in Acrylic Nails

To prevent nail fungus from forming, you should keep your nails as dry as possible. Since fungi growth happens mostly from moisture that gets trapped under your nails, you should take extra care to dry them well after taking a shower, swimming, or doing dishes by hand. Also, avoid putting anything sharp underneath your nails. 

You will also want to make sure to keep your nails clean. For extra measure, you can invest in antifungal spray or powder that you can put around your nails. This will help reduce the risk of these infections forming. 

Finally, it doesn’t hurt to ensure that the salon where you get your nails done is a reputable one that practices good hygiene and sanitation. 

How to Treat Nail Fungus in Acrylic Nails

Sometimes fungal infections can be hard to treat but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible. There are both home remedies and prescription medications that can be used in helping treat nail fungus, depending on the severity. Let’s go over some of these treatments now. 

Home Remedies 

If your nail fungal infection isn’t too severe, these home remedies may be able to help: 

  1. Essential Oils 
    Essential oils can be a great way to naturally treat nail fungus at home. According to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there have been studies relating to tea tree oil and how it may help in clearing up nail fungus. Essential oils like tea tree oil can be bought in a cream form that can be applied to your nails. 
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar 
    Similarly, apple cider vinegar is another great solution for an at-home remedy to treat fungal infections. While there are no studies to prove this, it doesn’t hurt to try. Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and warm water and then soak your nails in the mixture.
  3. Creams & Ointments
    There are several over-the-counter (OTC) creams and ointments that you can try without the need for a prescription. You’ll want to either file or trim your nails before applying these creams and ointments to ensure that you are getting the most benefit from them.

Medical Remedies 

Unfortunately, if your infection isn’t responding to the home remedies or if it has worsened, you may need to seek medical attention. Your doctor will examine your nails and then prescribe you one of the following: 

  1. Oral Antifungal Medication
    Most of the time, doctors will prescribe an antifungal medication that is to be taken orally. These medications are quick to work and often get rid of the infection quickly. 
  2. Medicated Nail Polish
    Another prescription that your doctor may give you is one for medicated nail polish. This nail polish is painted on the affected nails and the skin for seven days without removing it. After day seven, you will use alcohol to wipe away the polish and then start over. 
  3. Medicated Nail Cream
    The last prescription medication that your doctor may prescribe you is an antifungal cream. Your doctor will instruct you to soak your nails before applying this cream as soaking them will help the cream to work better.

If the infection has become too severe, your doctor may want to perform surgery to temporarily remove the infected nail in order to apply the antifungal medication directly to the infection. 

In the most severe cases where the infection frequently reoccurs or is too painful, the doctor may suggest the nail be removed permanently. 


Acrylic nails are a frequent cause of fingernail fungus. If you end up with a fungal infection, there are home remedies and medical prescriptions that can help treat the infection. Severe infections may require surgery to remove the nail, either temporarily or permanently. However, the risk of getting an infection can be reduced as long as your nails are kept clean and dry.