Why are my acrylic nails turning yellow?

Written by kate sedgwick Google
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Why are my acrylic nails turning yellow?
Acrylic nails can turn yellow with UV rays. (Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Acrylic nails are an investment, and if you take care of them, you can keep your costs lower. Sometimes, acrylic nails can yellow or change colour. This is especially problematic if you like to use translucent or light coloured polish as the yellow will show through. The most common cause of yellowing acrylic nails is UV exposure. The sun's rays or a tanning bed can cause the top layer of acrylic to darken. Some people notice a change after two treatments at the tanning salon.


To mitigate the effects of UV light on acrylic nails, use a topcoat with UV protection over your colour coat. Some coloured nail polishes also block UV rays.

Cover up

Another tactic to protect acrylic nails from UV light is to cover them entirely. A plaster over each nail before a visit to the tanning salon can do the trick. There are also products available specifically to cover the nails, such as Nailsavers, which are plastic pockets that fit over your fingertips and block light from discolouring your acrylics. If that's too complicated, you might try snipping the fingertips from latex or dish gloves and putting them over the nails before tanning.

Removing yellow

If your nails are already discoloured, try buffing the surface with a nail buffer. If the cause of the discolouration was UV light, it should only affect the top layer and you should be able to buff it off. If the nail is yellow all the way through, this indicates a poor quality of acrylic was used.

Other causes

Acrylic nails can yellow from smoking or if they come into contact with inks, dyes, or anything that penetrates the surface of the nail. Normally, these sorts of stains can be buffed off.

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