Can You Swim With Acrylic Nails?

Can You Swim With Acrylic Nails?

Swimming is a globally enjoyed activity, whether taking a dip in a pool, hitting the beach, or engaging in water sports. It provides a refreshing experience.

However, a common question often arises: “Can you swim with acrylic nails?”

Acrylic nails, known for their durability and aesthetic appeal, require special care when swimming to maintain quality.

In this article, I’ll delve into the advisability of swimming with acrylic nails, highlighting potential risks.

I’ll also offer practical tips for those wanting to protect their acrylic nails while swimming.

So, let’s dive in.

Can You Swim With Acrylic Nails?

Yes, you can swim with acrylic nails. It’s crucial to ensure your nails are completely dry before immersing them in water. Manicures require at least 12 hours to dry completely.

Acrylic nails are durable and strong, but prolonged exposure to chlorinated pool or saltwater environments can weaken the bond between the acrylic nails and the real nail leading to lifting or even complete detachment.

Precautions you can take to mitigate the risks of nail lifting are:

1. Apply a protective coating like a water-resistant topcoat or clear nail polish to create a barrier between the water and your acrylic nails. The protective coating will help safeguard your acrylics.

2. Avoid prolonged hand washing or soaking in water after swimming to maintain the longevity of your acrylic nails.

A freshly applied acrylic nail is more susceptible to water damage. Therefore, enough drying time before swimming is essential. 

Interesting read: Acrylic nail ripped off real nail.

Acrylic Nails

Before delving into whether we can swim with acrylic nails, let’s first understand what they are.

Acrylic nails are artificial nails created by combining liquid monomer and powder polymers. You can wear acrylics on your natural nails or use them for extensions.

Compared to other types of artificial nails, they are more flexible and durable.

Acrylic nails are a great choice because they can be customized to match your style with a wide range of shapes, colors, and designs.

Find out the different types of acrylic nail shapes you can rock.

Can You Swim With Acrylic Nails?

Considerations Before Swimming with Your Acrylic Nails

1. Application

Before entering the water, ensure your nail technician has correctly applied your acrylic nails.

An improperly placed nail set might not be comfortable while swimming. Here is what you can expect if your nails are not well done:


Leaving gaps between your nails during application increases the risk of developing a fungal infection.

Water creates an environment between your natural nail and the artificial nail, which supports the growth of viruses and bacteria, making them thrive.

Lifting of nails due to improper bonding

Water seeping under the gaps between your acrylic nails can cause them to lift.

As more water enters, the glue that binds your acrylic nails to your natural nails may weaken.

Consequently, your nails can continue to lift until no glue is left.

How to check if your nails are properly bonded

Checking for gaps between the acrylic and natural nails is a simple way to verify if the nail is properly bonded.

When the tips of your natural nails are well sealed with overlay acrylic nails, there won’t be any room for water.

Here is a guide if you want to learn more about the steps to do acrylic nails.

2. Types of water

It’s worth considering the type of water you will swim in because water weakens acrylic nails.

Swimming pools contain chlorine to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and ensure safe swimming conditions, but chlorine might ruin acrylic nails without proper care.

If your acrylic nails are not done properly, spending time in such water can damage them.

Consider the following tips before you go swimming:

i.Check for the water temperature: To ensure the best experience for yourself and your acrylic nails, check the water temperature first.

The water’s temperature impacts the durability of your acrylic nails and the comfort you feel while trying to relax and enjoy your swim.

ii. Check for the chlorine level: Different pools have varying levels of chlorine treatment if you detect a strong bleach-like smell in the pool, that indicates high chlorine levels. 

iii. Check the salt level in the water: Different bodies of water, such as saltwater pools or the ocean, have varying salt concentration levels. Excessive salt impact the durability of acrylic nails. 

What to do after you go swimming with fake nails

i. Wash your hands properly

Remember to wash your hands properly after swimming in a chlorinated pool. Additionally, master how to keep acrylic nails clean for pristine results and healthy nail care.

Retaining water under the nails is not wise, even if you’re swimming in a natural spring or lake. It encourages the growth of bacteria and results in an infection.

ii. Dry your hands completely

Dry your hands after swimming to prevent the nail glue from coming loose.

If you do not dry your nails, moisture can get trapped between the nail and the skin, which may lead to skin irritation and infection.

iii. Keep your hands moisturized

Moisturize your hands using a moisturizer or baby oil after getting out of the pool to prevent dryness that could lead to lifting or loss of nails.

3. Duration of swimming

Prolonged exposure to water affects the bond between acrylic and natural nails.

The longer you swim, the greater the likelihood of water seeping under the acrylic, causing lifting or damage.

To maintain the longevity of your acrylic nails, limit the duration of your swimming sessions and take breaks to allow your nails to dry.

How long can you swim with acrylic nails?

Acrylic nails can withstand water for less than an hour. Everyone’s experience with nail polish is different.

The difference depends on how well the nails were done and the condition of your nails. Swimming a few laps is okay, but dry your nails afterward.

can you swim with acrylic nails

How To Keep Your Nails Protected From Chlorine

Here are 4 simple ways to protect your acrylic nails from chlorine.

1. Apply cuticle oil

Consider applying cuticle oil before swimming in a pool to protect your acrylic nails from chlorine.

The oil is a protective barrier, preventing chlorine from penetrating the acrylic.

Apply the oil around the edges of your nails and in between them.  Paying attention to the natural nail bed where the acrylic starts for added protection.

After swimming, reapply the oil and wash your hands with soap and water to remove residual chlorine.

2. Apply a protective coating

Applying a clear coat of nail polish can create a protective barrier to prevent chlorine from seeping into the acrylic nails. Using a product designed for acrylic nails is important.

Before applying, test a patch on a less visible part of your nail art before applying to check for allergic reactions.

When applying any solutions or products, handle them with care to avoid damaging the acrylics.

3. Avoid soaking in chlorine water for long periods

Swimming in a chlorinated pool is fun and relaxing, but you should avoid spending too much time in the water.

Prolonged chlorine exposure can cause skin irritation and dryness. Chemicals such as nitrogen trichloride can become airborne when chlorine levels are high.

4. Wash your hands after exposure

Ensure you wash your hands after leaving the swimming pool to remove excess chlorine.

By washing your hands, you reduce the risk of causing more damage to your acrylic nails.

Expert Nail Care Tips For Swimmers

1. Apply thin layers of polish

When it comes to nail polish, opt for thin layers instead of thick coats, especially if you’re a swimmer.

Thin layers adhere better to the nail surface and reduce the risk of peeling or chipping when exposed to water.

By applying multiple thin coats and allowing each layer to dry, you can enhance the longevity of your nail polish.

Read also: How thick should acrylics be?

2. Get a gel manicure

A gel manicure is a great option if you’re an avid swimmer looking for long-lasting nail color. Gel nail polish is durable and water-resistant.

It is cured under a UV or LED lamp, creating a strong, resilient finish that can withstand frequent swimming sessions without chipping or fading.

Gel polish needs professional application and removal in a nail salon.

3. Apply a topcoat

Adding a protective topcoat to your nail polish shields your nails from the effects of chlorine or saltwater.

Look for a transparent top coat formulated to be water-resistant and long-lasting. Topcoats create a barrier that helps seal nail polish and protects against water exposure.

Reapply the topcoat every few days to maintain its protective properties.

4. Apply moisturizers

Apply a nourishing nail cream to replenish moisture and prevent dryness after swimming.

Moisturizing helps keep your nails healthy and less prone to breakage or splitting.

Does Chlorine Ruin Acrylic Nails?

Chlorine generally does not damage acrylic nails or cause them to lift unless there is excessive exposure. 

However, prolonged exposure to chlorine can weaken the adhesive bond and cause lifting or damage to the nails.

Minimizing exposure to chlorine can help maintain the integrity of acrylic nails while swimming.

Does Chlorine Ruin Acrylic Nails?

Does Water Weaken Acrylic Nails?

Yes, water can weaken acrylic nails over time. Overexposure to water causes the acrylic glue to loosen.

Excessive exposure to water weakens the bond between the acrylic and the natural nail plate. The acrylic nails then lift, chip, or even detach.

To maintain the strength and durability of your acrylic nails, avoid excessive exposure to water. By taking precautions, you can help preserve the quality of your acrylic nails.

Interesting read: Why do my acrylic nails lift?

Do Acrylic Nails Come Off in Salt Water? 

While acrylic nails are waterproof, they are still susceptible to coming off or lifting in saltwater.

The saltwater weakens the bond between the acrylic and the natural nail, increasing the risk of detachment.

The abrasive properties of saltwater also contribute to the wear and tear of acrylic nails.

Take precautions when swimming with acrylic nails in salt water to reduce their chances of coming off.

Interesting read: Acrylic vs tips

Can You Shower After Wearing Acrylic Nails?

You can, but avoid keeping your acrylic nails wet for an extended period. It is best to wait at least 12 hours after getting them done before showering.

Take short showers or avoid getting too much water on your hands and nails. After showering, dry off your nails with a soft towel.

Water damage acrylic nails. Be gentle when drying them so the acrylics don’t get damaged.

Wear gloves when doing activities where your hands may come into contact with water.

Best Fake Nails for Swimmers

French fake nail is a high-quality acrylic ABS fake nail that is durable and withstands harsh water conditions.

The high-quality acrylic ABS fake nail is perfect for swimmers. It provides thick layers of protection to help keep their nails free from chlorine damage and look stylish.

The French design is custom-fit to each individual’s fingers, ensuring it fits without gaps or warping.


How do I protect my nails when swimming?

Apply a clear topcoat or protective solution to protect your nails while swimming. Consider wearing swim gloves. Limit exposure and dry nails. Moisturize your acrylics with nail oil or cuticle cream.

Can you swim with gel nails?

Yes, you can swim with gel manicures. They are more durable than regular nail polish and provide a water-tight seal that helps to protect the nails from water damage. As an added benefit, Gel manicures also stay longer than regular nail polish, providing extended wear and enjoyment. 

Can swimming mess up your nails?

Yes, swimming can mess up your nails. Prolonged exposure to water, especially in chlorinated pools or salt water, weakens nails. The exposure may lead to peeling, chipping, or lifting of nail enhancements like acrylic or gel nails. Minimizing water exposure to help maintain the integrity of your nails.

Can I wash my hair with acrylic nails?

Yes, you can wash your hair with acrylic nails. But wait two to three hours after wearing acrylics with nail glue before exposing them to water or washing your hair. Ensure that your false nails are well attached, and there are no air bubbles between them and your natural nails.

Can acrylic nails get wet?

Yes, acrylic nails get wet. It’s best to avoid excessive water exposure as it can damage them. Water can cause lifting and lead to nail fungus. Excessive water contact may loosen the acrylic glue bond, resulting in detachment. To maintain the longevity of your nails, limit water exposure.

Can you swim with dip powder nails?

Yes, you can. Dip powder nails are a hybrid between gel nail polish and acrylic extensions, where the dip powder is utilized to add color to nails. After application, the powder is dried using a hair dryer. Excessive exposure to water may weaken the dip powder. 

Can you bowl with fake nails?

Yes, you can bowl with fake nails. Fake nails, such as acrylic or gel nails, are durable and should not interfere with your ability to bowl. However, some people may find bowling with long nails a bit challenging. If you’re comfortable with your nails and feel they don’t hinder your performance, bowling with fake nails should be fine.


Swimming with acrylic nails is safe, provided they are in good condition and correctly applied by a nail technician.

Before undertaking any activity with acrylics, it’s recommended to consult a nail tech.

Be mindful of exposure to chemicals or other harmful situations to your nails. With proper precautions, acrylic nails are comfortable and fun accessories while swimming.


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