Self Tanning Questions

How to Protect Acrylic Nails When Tanning? (Explained)

Written by: Anastasija

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Acrylic nails are a great way to achieve the nails of your dreams in an instant, and they’re a very popular treatment for many people. In a similar way, self-tanner is also an instant way to enhance your skin tone without sun damage, but how can you protect your precious nails when tanning?

Does fake tan stain acrylic nails?

Firstly, it’s time to find out whether or not fake tan really does stain your acrylic nails, because this is something definitely worth knowing if you tan a lot, or if you like to have a regular manicure.

Fake tan, while it’s a brilliant choice for you to enhance your overall appearance with and comes with many benefits, is also notorious for causing a few complications in certain areas when it’s applied, and it’s good to know exactly what damage it can cause.

Generally, fake tan mostly likely won’t stain your acrylic nails completely if it comes into contact with them, as the chemicals inside of it just aren’t programmed to do so, and they usually require some skin to hang on to. Self-tanners include an ingredient known as DHA (which stands for dihydroxyacetone), and the role of this DHA is to react with the upper layers of skin cells everywhere it’s applied, and it’s the product of that reaction that leaves your tan.

So, because there’s no skin on the nails, you wouldn’t expect the self-tanner to cause any staining, but this is still possible. When you use a self-tanner, you’ll notice there are more ingredients than just this DHA, and those such as the guide colour can be left behind on your nails. The thing with this is that they’re more likely to cause more discoloured marks, such as rusty oranges on your nails, and the most problematic area to deal with will be your cuticles, as there’s still skin here.

Because the DHA reacts with the upper layer of skin cells, that’s also the reason why your tan lasts for a longer amount of time and doesn’t just wash off immediately. However, any tan that does manage to get onto your acrylic nails will most likely be much easier to clean off than on the cuticles, as there’s not skin for the DHA reaction to take place with on the nail, but there is on the cuticle.

If you’re still finding this a little difficult to understand, it’s just good to know that yes, a self-tanner can stain your acrylic nails, and this is mainly caused by the bronzers in the formula, which will leave behind a discoloured tint.

Also read:
How Long Does Self-Tanner Take To Dry? (Express vs Normal)
What Colour Nails Look Good on Tan Skin? (Explained)
How to Fix Bad Fake Tan on Hands? (With Solutions)

How can I protect my acrylic nails when self-tanning?

So, we’ve established that yes, it’s is possible for a self-tanner to stain your nails, but this is only half the information we wanted. Most of us would rather not spend our time with discoloured, orange-tinted nails when we’ve paid to have acrylics applied, so how can we protect our nails when self-tanning?

Luckily, protecting your nails is actually quite easy, and it doesn’t require too much complication or skill. There are a variety of different methods that people like to use, but the barrier cream one, as we’re about to explain, is definitely the easiest and most effective.

Protection MethodDescription
Apply a BarrierApply a clear base coat or petroleum jelly on the acrylic nails before tanning
Use Protective GlovesWear disposable or reusable gloves during the tanning session
Create a BarrierUse a small foam brush or cotton swabs to create a barrier around the nails
Use Nail GuardsApply specialized nail guards or protectors designed for acrylic nails
Cleanse After TanningImmediately wipe off any tan residue from the acrylic nails after tanning
Table 1: Tips to Protect Acrylic Nails during Tanning

If you’re using this barrier cream method, you’re going to need a, oil-free moisturiser, or even a barrier cream if you can get hold of one. A barrier cream is often used in spray tanning salons and placed along places such as the hairline, to prevent any of the tanning ingredients from sticking there. However, if you don’t have a barrier cream, an oil-free moisturiser works just as well.

All you need to do is start your tanning session a little differently and add a final stage of preparation in before you begin applying the self-tanner. Take a decent amount of either your barrier cream or moisturiser and apply a thick coating of it around the cuticles. What this will do is prevent any self-tanner making it onto the cuticles, and if it does, the cream will make it too slippery for the tanner to stick.

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At the same time, it creates a barrier over your nails, so you don’t blend up onto them without getting to the barrier cream first. Of course, there is still the possibility here that you may get a little tanner on your nails, so keep an eye out for that and, once you’ve finished covering your body, take a cloth and just gently wipe any excess product from the nails, and they won’t stain.

Final thoughts

It’s clear to see that there is a chance for you to stain your acrylic nails when self-tanning, and this is something we’re all interested in avoiding, in order to protect our manicures as well as to yield a cleaner-looking result. Fortunately, it is possible to protect your nails and cuticle from staining with a simple method!

About Anastasija

Welcome to my website! I'm Anastasija, and as a redhead with a sensitivity to the sun, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect sunless tanner six years ago.

After extensive research and four years of personal experience, I'm here to share my wealth of tips and tricks for achieving a beautiful, sun-kissed glow.

Whether you're interested in self-tanners, spray tans, or safe sun exposure, this website covers it all.

Join me as I provide valuable insights and guidance for various methods of getting that desired tan.

Anastasija thirsty for tan about me

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