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Does Chlorine Ruin Acrylic Nails? [Can You Still Go Swimming?]

You’ve got your acrylics done and they look fantastic. But can you now go swimming, or enter water that has been treated with chlorine? Or will it completely damage your new manicure? Here is what you need to know!

So, does chlorine ruin acrylic nails? Chlorine should not ruin, nor cause any lifting, in properly prepared and applied acrylic nails. However, over-exposure to chlorine, or water in general, can result in the eventual lifting or a weakening of the adhesion over time.

While a dip in the pool is rejuvenating, swimming is certainly good exercise, and some time in the hot tub is relaxing, truth is – you’re exposing your body and your nails to chlorine.

We all know that chlorine is not great for us.

It can be quite irritating when it gets in the eyes, its drying to the skin. and it can make hair feel stiff and without its natural bounce.

Then there is the smell….

But it is a chemical and it does kill of bacteria and germs after all.

Its in many ways a lesser of two evils.

But how does it typically impact a manicure, particularly an acrylic one?

What do you need to be aware of if you have them done and intend to enter water treated with chlorine.

Keep reading to find out!

How Damaging Is Chlorine To Acrylics?

While chlorine is not exactly beneficial to your acrylic nails, it does not do any damage as such.

Acrylic nails are designed to be very durable; they are made from materials intended to withstand a lot of stress and wear.

Besides, you will need to wash your hands, and they will be exposed to different products and chemicals after all.

Thankfully, for acrylics that have been applied correctly, chlorine is unlikely to affect them all that much, or at least not very quickly.

This is, of course, assuming exposure is not too regular or for extended periods of time.

Alternatively, if you were to have worn your acrylic nails for some time already, they are already starting to lift, or they were not applied appropriately, chlorine can very well have an impact.

For instance, if the chlorine is able to get underneath the acrylic, or if the adhesion was not secure from a lack of dehydrating prior to application; then chances are the chlorine is not going to do the enhancements much good.

So perhaps a better way of looking at this is what condition are your acrylics in?

Are any parts of your nail exposed?

If you are going for regular refills, you needn’t have to worry as much.

But, if there is any sign of weakness, it can be an issue.

However, at this juncture exposing your acrylics to any water would equally be problematic; chlorinated or not.

Water by itself can cause lifting in artificial nails if it gets into the wrong place. And then you run the risk of nail infection too.

So, its ultimately all about the condition of your acrylics and natural nails, and the length of time to any water or chlorine exposure.

Can You Go Swimming After Getting Acrylic Nails?

You can still go swimming with acrylic nails, although you will need to be mindful of how long you are in the water and how frequently you go.

If you are a competitive swimmer, or swim very regularly, then chances are artificial nails are not the most appropriate for you at this time.

Besides they are sharp and not likely to help you remain streamlined!

Instead, if you like to swim regularly or have a pretty demanding training schedule, a simple nail polish would likely be much more appropriate.

Even if it does chip more regularly; it will likely be a lot more cost effective in the long run!

If you just wanted to go for a swim now and then, you should be fine to do so with acrylics. Assuming they have been properly applied etc.

Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to keep your exposure to chlorinated water as brief as possible.

And not only will your nails be grateful for this, but your hair and skin will be too!

Chlorine, whilst very effective at killing germs and bacteria has a very drying affect on nails/hair and skin.

Not ideal.

Do Acrylic Nails Stay On In Water?

Acrylic nails should stay on in water, assuming there are not any inherent weaknesses or they are already severely lifting.

They are designed to be able to withstand getting a little wet from time to time.

Otherwise, going for a shower or a bath would be completely out of the question and you would have acrylic nail gloves for such purposes!

Or go smelly which I doubt anyone would go through with!

How durable acrylics will be in water does depend on a few factors, mind.

For starters it does depend on how well the acrylics were applied.

If they were bonded improperly, through poor technique, use of the wrong products, or in the wrong ratio, you may encounter issues.

As previously mentioned, its not actually the chlorine that poses the biggest threat to your acrylics.

Its the water.

And its when it gets underneath.

Unfortunately, natural nails also have the tendency to absorb water and expand.

So, if water does get underneath, your natural nails will likely expand and loosen the bond you have with your acrylics.

And as you can imagine, this results in even more water entering. And exacerbates the problem even more.

To prevent this from happening, you could look to add a moisturizer or oil on your acrylic nails before swimming.

These products will naturally repel the water, preventing it from reaching the natural nail and resulting in lifting.

Its also a good idea to regularly monitor and examine your acrylics; especially before you do get in any water.

Check to ensure the acrylics are still adhered well to the natural nail.

If its not, you should look to repair the bond, or ask your nail technician to do so for you.

How Do I Protect My Nails From Chlorine?

The best way to protect your nails from chlorine is by adding adding a layer of transparent top coat. This will prevent any direct contact.

Other than this, it is important that you minimize your exposure to chlorine as much as you can, and be sure to wash it off your nails and skin after any emersion in it.

So, this will mean carefully washing your hands after swimming, before applying a moisturizer or cuticle oil to your nails to rehydrate them and stop the drying effect chlorine can have.

This is the cuticle oil to get, from Amazon.

One other thing to consider is the manicure you decide to get going forward.

Gel nails are generally much more practical for swimmers, and time spent in the pool.

They are a lot better at naturally repelling water, and you are far less likely to knock your fingers on the side of the pool (which can result in cracking and lifting).

They are generally a lot more resilient so should be considered a more suitable alternative, long-term.

What Happens If Water Gets Under Acrylic Nails?

If water gets under your acrylic nails, it can result in infection if it does not dry out quickly enough.

This is especially problematic if your nails do not fall off, as you will unlikely detect or even notice this moisture at first.

Water has a tendency to intrude even the smallest gaps in natural and acrylic nails and can go unnoticed for quite some time.

Its also very unlikely that you will be able to manually dry it out with a towel, even if you were to notice.

If an infection does start to take hold, you will notice in time through either a smell, discoloration or an uncomfortable feeling.

In this instance its important you get your nails looked at, by a doctor, at the earliest of opportunities.

While most cases of infection are not too dangerous, at least initially, if it goes on for too long it can result in permanent damage or even spread to other parts of your body.

So, if you suspect a gap in your acrylics, do get them refilled by your nail technician as soon as you can.

It will dramatically lower any chances of lifting, will ensure your nails last longer and most importantly, prevent any dreaded infection.

Of course, you could always try to repair the bond yourself with some nail glue.

Although a professional will be best qualified to to properly inspect your nails and ensure they are bonded appropriately.

It can be particularly tricky to do on your own.


Chlorine is not ideal for your acrylic nails. There is no denying that.

But, it should not cause any immediate damage or cause your acrylics to lift if you were happen to swim infrequently.

In fact, the better the application, the better your nails were prepped prior to application, and the more recently your acrylics were applied, the greater the chance that chlorine will not have any adverse effects.

However, if there is any existing lifting, signs of weakness or general application issues, chlorine can be the final straw.