The Truth About Nail Glue: Is it Bad for Your Nails?

Nail glue is a popular product used by people for various nail treatments. From attaching artificial nails to repairing broken nails, nail glue is widely used by many. However, there are concerns about the safety of nail glue, particularly regarding its potential harm to nails. This article will explore whether nail glue is bad for your nails and the precautions you should take when using it.

What is Nail Glue Made of?

Glamnetic Nail Glue

Nail glue, also known as cyanoacrylate glue, is an adhesive commonly used to bond nails together. It is made up of a chemical compound containing ethyl cyanoacrylate, a potent bonding agent. Nail glue comes in different types, including brush-on, squeeze tube, and pen applicator.

When applied, nail glue creates a chemical bond between the nails, resulting in a strong and long-lasting bond. However, this bond can sometimes be too strong and may cause harm to the nails.

Potential Harm of Nail Glue to Nails

According to Arora, Harleen & Tosti, Antonella. (2017), commercial nail products have been found to contain harmful substances, including toluene-sulfonamide-formaldehyde resin and methacrylates, which have been linked to various negative effects. Of particular concern is allergic contact dermatitis, which has been associated with exposure to these substances.

There are several potential harms that nail glue can cause to your nails. These include:

Skin Irritation

Nail glue is a chemical substance that can cause skin irritation when it comes into contact with your skin. The chemicals in the glue can cause an allergic reaction, leading to redness, itching, and other skin irritations. 

If you experience any of these symptoms after using nail glue, removing the glue immediately and washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water is essential. It is also important to avoid using the glue again or any other products containing the same chemicals.

Allergic Reactions

Some people may have an allergic reaction to nail glue, and this can be severe. The allergic reaction can cause symptoms such as hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, or tongue. The allergic reaction can sometimes be life-threatening, and immediate medical attention should be sought.

Nail Damage

Nail glue can cause damage to your nails if not used properly. If the glue is applied too close to the cuticle, it can damage the nail bed and lead to the growth of an ingrown nail. This can be painful and may require medical attention. 

Nail Weakening

Overuse of nail glue can cause your nails to become weak and brittle. This is because the glue prevents your nails from breathing and can cause them to become dehydrated. Repeatedly applying and removing artificial nails can also weaken your nails over time. 

Nail Infections

Nail glue can trap bacteria or fungus under the nails, leading to infections. This is particularly common when the glue is used to attach artificial nails, and the nails are not properly sanitized before application. 

Safety Precautions to Take When Using Nail Glue

To minimize the potential harm that nail glue can cause to your nails, it is essential to take safety precautions when using it. These include:

Limiting Frequency of Use

Limiting the frequency of using nail glue is vital to avoid potential harm to your nails. Only use nail glue when necessary, and avoid using it too frequently. Overuse of nail glue can cause your nails to become weak and brittle, making them more susceptible to damage.

Proper Application Techniques

When applying nail glue, it is essential to apply it carefully and avoid contact with the skin and cuticles. If the glue comes into contact with your skin, it can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction. To prevent this, apply the glue using a small brush or applicator, and be careful not to touch the skin or cuticles.

Choosing the Right Type of Nail Glue 

Different types of nail glue are available, and choosing the one specifically designed for your nail type is essential. Some nail glues are designed for natural nails, while others are designed for artificial nails. Choosing the correct type of nail glue can help prevent damage to your nails and ensure that the glue works effectively.

Checking for Allergic Reactions

Before using a new nail glue, it is crucial to do a patch test to ensure that you are not allergic to it. Apply a small amount of the glue to your skin and wait for 24 hours to see if you have any reaction. If you experience redness, itching, or swelling symptoms, do not use the glue and seek medical attention.

Using Acetone to Remove Nail Glue

When it is time to remove the nail glue, it is essential to use acetone instead of peeling it off. Peeling the glue off can cause damage to your nails, leading to weakened and brittle nails. To remove the glue, soak your nails in acetone for a few minutes and gently remove the glue with a cuticle pusher or a soft cloth.

Myths about Nail Glue Safety

Many myths about the safety of nail glue have been circulating. This section will debunk some of these myths and provide accurate information about nail glue safety.

Myth #1: Nail glue is safe for use on the skin.

This is false. Nail glue is not meant to be used on the skin and can cause skin irritation or even severe allergic reactions if it comes into contact with your skin. It is vital to apply nail glue carefully, avoiding contact with the skin and cuticles.

Myth #2: All nail glues are created equal.

This is false. Not all nail glues are created equal, and some may contain harmful chemicals that can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. It is vital to choose a high-quality nail glue specifically designed for your nail type and do a patch test before using a new nail glue.

Myth #3: Nail glue can be removed by peeling it off.

This is false. Peeling off nail glue can cause damage to your nails and should be avoided. Instead, use acetone to remove nail glue, following proper removal techniques to prevent damage to your natural nails.

Myth #4: Nail glue is safe for everyone to use.

This is not true. Some people may be allergic to nail glue, and the allergic reaction can be severe. It is crucial to do a patch test before using new nail glue and to seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, while nail glue can be a valuable product for nail treatments, it can harm your nails if not correctly used. It is important to take safety precautions when using nail glue, including limiting its frequency of use, applying it carefully, choosing the right type, checking for allergic reactions, and using acetone to remove it.

Alternatively, nail treatments such as nail strengtheners, press-on nails, gel polish, and dip powder can provide a safer alternative to nail glue. By taking the necessary precautions and considering alternative treatments, you can maintain the health and strength of your nails while still achieving the desired results.