Why Does My Press On Nails Hurt? 5 Possible Factors

by  Mila M.Cosmetologist

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Are your press-on nails causing more pain than pleasure? Unfortunately, this is a common issue for many nail enthusiasts. This article aims to reveal what might be going wrong, from incorrect application to inadequate preparation of the natural nail.

So stick around and let’s make sure your next manicure session is as comfortable as it should be!

  • Press-on nail pain can be caused by various factors such as incorrect application, neglecting nail prep, use of low-quality adhesive, and injuries/infections.
  • To avoid press-on nail pain, choose the right size and shape, apply and remove them correctly, keep your natural nails short, and properly prep them before applying.
  • Restoring lost moisture, keeping nails short, proper filing/buffing, and using a top coat are important steps to fix press-on nail damage.

Understanding Press-On Nail Pain

Press-on nail pain can occur due to various reasons, including incorrect application or removal techniques and neglecting proper nail prep. To avoid hurting yourself with press-on nails, it’s essential to understand the common causes of pain and how to prevent them.

3 Common causes of pain

Incorrect application of press-on nails triggers a world of discomfort. Sometimes, you select the wrong size or slap them on with too much pressure. Without proper alignment and care, these artificial extensions strain your natural nails.

And if that isn’t enough, ripping off the fake ones without following recommended procedures leads to throbbing pain and damage to your nail beds. More than just a careless removal technique, low-quality adhesive also contributes to the problem by causing inflammation or allergic reactions in some individuals.

Yet another cause brings us back to square one: not properly prepping your own nails before application could pave way for potential bacterial infection which certainly escalates into intolerable itchiness and soreness over time!

How to avoid hurting yourself with press-on nails

To avoid hurting yourself with press-on nails, it’s important to follow proper application and removal techniques.

First, make sure you choose the right size and shape of press-on nails that match your natural nails. Applying them too tightly or with excessive pressure can cause discomfort and pain.

When removing the press-ons, avoid pulling or ripping them off, as this can damage your natural nails.

Instead, gently soak them in warm soapy water to loosen the adhesive before carefully peeling them off.

By taking these precautions, you can enjoy beautiful nails without experiencing any unnecessary pain or discomfort.

5 Factors That Can Contribute to Press-On Nail Pain

Improper application/removal, neglecting nail prep, use of low-quality adhesive, injuries and infections can all contribute to press-on nail pain.

Incorrect application/removal

Improperly applying or removing press-on nails can lead to discomfort and pain. When the nails are applied too tightly or with excessive pressure, they can cause soreness and sensitivity.

Additionally, if you rip or pull off the press-on nails instead of gently removing them, you risk damaging your natural nails and experiencing even more pain. It is important to follow the correct techniques for application and removal to minimize any potential pain or damage.

Remember, if you continue to experience pain from press-on nails, it may be best to consult a professional nail technician for assistance.

Neglecting nail prep

Proper nail preparation is crucial when applying press-on nails to avoid discomfort and pain. Neglecting this step can lead to a range of issues, including the nails not adhering properly or lifting off easily.

By failing to clean and buff your natural nails before application, you risk trapped moisture and oils that prevent the adhesive from sticking effectively. Taking the time for nail prep ensures a smooth surface and helps create a strong bond between your natural nails and the press-ons, reducing the chances of pain or discomfort during wear.

Use of low-quality adhesive

Using low-quality adhesive for press-on nails can lead to discomfort and pain. When the adhesive is not strong enough or does not adhere properly, the press-on nails can easily come loose and cause irritation.

Additionally, low-quality adhesive may not last as long, causing the nails to lift and move around more easily. This movement can put pressure on your natural nails, leading to soreness and sensitivity.

To avoid this, it’s important to invest in high-quality adhesive that provides a strong bond and ensures a comfortable wearing experience. Don’t let low-quality adhesive ruin your press-on nail experience; choose a reliable brand for better results.

Injuries and infections

Press-on nails can sometimes lead to injuries and infections if not applied or removed correctly. This can happen if the press-on nails are too tight or applied with excessive pressure, causing discomfort and potential damage to the natural nail bed.

Additionally, improper removal techniques like pulling or ripping off the press-on nails can also result in pain and injury. It is important to follow proper application and removal methods to minimize these risks.

If you experience persistent pain or notice signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus around the nail area, it’s crucial to seek professional assistance from a nail technician.

How to Fix Press-On Nail Damage

Restore your nails’ health and beauty with these simple steps – moisturize, trim, file, buff, and protect with a top coat. Find out more on how to fix press-on nail damage here!

Restoring lost moisture

To soothe and restore moisture to your nails after using press-on nails, there are a few simple steps you can follow. Start by giving your nails a break from any artificial enhancements for a few days to allow them to recover.

Apply a nourishing cuticle oil or cream daily to hydrate the nail bed and promote healthy growth. You can also try soaking your nails in warm water mixed with Epsom salt for about 10-15 minutes, which can help relieve dryness and inflammation.

Finally, make sure to moisturize your hands regularly throughout the day with a hydrating hand lotion. These steps will help replenish lost moisture and keep your natural nails looking their best!

Keeping nails short

To minimize pain and discomfort when wearing press-on nails, it’s important to keep your natural nails short. Long nails can increase the risk of snagging or catching on things, which can be painful and even cause damage to the fake nails.

By keeping your nails short, you reduce the chances of any mishaps or discomfort while still being able to enjoy the stylish look that press-on nails provide. Remember to use a nail clipper regularly to maintain a shorter length and ensure a comfortable fit for your press-on nails.

Proper filing and buffing

To keep your press-on nails looking and feeling their best, proper filing and buffing is essential. After applying the nails, use a nail file to shape them to your desired length and shape.

Gently file in one direction to avoid splitting or damaging the nails. Then, smooth out any rough edges or uneven surfaces with a buffer. This process helps create a polished finish and prevents snagging or catching on clothing.

By taking the time to file and buff your press-on nails properly, you’ll ensure that they look natural and feel comfortable throughout their wear.

Using top coat

Using a top coat is an essential step in maintaining your press-on nails and preventing discomfort. A top coat helps to seal and protect the nail design, ensuring that it lasts longer without chipping or peeling.

It also adds a glossy finish that enhances the overall look of your nails. By applying a thin layer of top coat over your press-on nails, you can help secure them in place and minimize any potential rubbing or shifting.

Additionally, the top coat acts as a barrier between your natural nail and the adhesive, reducing the risk of irritation or sensitivity. Remember to apply a fresh layer of top coat every few days to keep your press-on nails looking flawless for longer.

Tips to Avoid Press-On Nail Pain

To avoid press-on nail pain, use a high-quality adhesive, apply and remove the nails correctly, keep your nails short, and properly prep them before applying.

Using high-quality adhesive

Using high-quality adhesive is crucial when it comes to applying press-on nails. The adhesive is what keeps the artificial nails securely in place, preventing them from lifting or falling off prematurely.

High-quality adhesives are designed to provide a strong and long-lasting bond between the natural and artificial nails. They also help minimize the risk of pain and discomfort during wear.

By investing in a reputable brand of adhesive, you can ensure that your press-on nails stay put for as long as you want without causing any unnecessary pain or irritation.

Correctly applying and removing nails

To avoid pain and discomfort when using press-on nails, it is crucial to correctly apply and remove them. First, ensure that the press-on nails are the right size and shape for your natural nails.

Applying them too tightly or with excessive pressure can cause pain. When removing the nails, do not pull or rip them off as this can damage your natural nails and result in soreness.

Instead, follow proper removal techniques by gently soaking your fingers in warm soapy water to loosen the adhesive. Then, use a nail file or cuticle pusher to gently lift and slide off each nail without force.

Keeping nails short

To avoid discomfort and potential pain from press-on nails, it is important to keep your natural nails short. When your nails are shorter, there is less chance of the press-on nails putting pressure on your nail bed or rubbing against the skin around your nails.

By trimming your nails regularly, you can minimize any potential soreness or sensitivity caused by the press-on nails. Additionally, shorter nails also reduce the risk of the press-on nails getting caught on things and potentially causing damage to both the fake and natural nails.

So make sure to keep those nails trimmed for a more comfortable and enjoyable experience with press-on nail applications.

Proper nail prep

To avoid pain and discomfort when using press-on nails, proper nail prep is essential. Start by thoroughly cleaning your natural nails with a gentle nail polish remover to remove any oils or residues.

Next, trim and shape your nails to the desired length and style. Gently push back your cuticles using a cuticle pusher or an orange stick. This helps create a smooth surface for the press-on nails to adhere to without causing any pressure or irritation.

Finally, lightly buff the surface of your natural nails to ensure better adhesion for the press-on nails. By following these steps, you can ensure that your press-on nails stay in place comfortably and securely without causing any unnecessary pain or discomfort.


Press-on nail discomfort is a common issue that can be easily addressed. By using the correct size and shape, applying them properly, and following proper removal techniques, you can avoid pain and enjoy beautiful nails without any discomfort.

Remember, if the pain persists or becomes unbearable, it’s always best to consult a professional nail technician for assistance.


1. Why do my press-on nails hurt?

Your press-on nails might hurt due to improper application, trauma during application or removal, heat generated from nail glue, or an allergic reaction to outdated nail products.

2. What causes discomfort with glue-on nails?

Discomfort can arise if the presson nails are insecurely adhered causing potential trauma to your natural nails and cuticles. Damaged cuticles and infected nail beds might also increase sensitivity leading to pain.

3. Can out-of-date products cause pain while applying artificial nails?

Yes! Using outdated adhesive or acrylic materials for your press-on nails may lead to complications like flaking, swelling, and itchy and irritated nail beds contributing towards overall discomfort.

4. Is it normal that my press-on nails are causing me pain after application?

No! While slight sensation could be a result of new external pressure applied on your nail bed; persistent soreness often points towards issues like improper fitting, trauma inflicted during the process, or potential infections.

5. Are there any tips for relieving pain from press-on 

To relieve the discomfort caused by painful artificial nails; ensure proper adherence of each unit avoiding damage to the cuticle area, regularly monitor for signs of irritation, and when in need opt for professional help promptly while removing glued fake units safely.

Why Does My Press On Nails Hurt? 5 Possible Factors
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Mila, the veteran beauty cosmetics professional and author of this article, while cutting and styling the hair of her client

Hi! I’m Mila M. I share my 44 year-experience as a Cosmetologist & Beauty Professional in this blog. This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Consult your trusted Beauty Professional for your personal beauty needs.

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