Green fungus under acrylic nail (Causes & Treatment)

woman damaged infected nails by fungus
This post may contain affiliate links. At no cost to you we may earn a commission. See our full disclosure for more info.

Acrylic nails are perfect for enhancing your overall style and fitting your fashion choices. 

When applied correctly, they pose no harm and don’t ruin your nails. 

But what if you suffer a poor application or removal process? That’s when you can face serious consequences. 

An example of this is when your nails turn green. 

Green fungus under acrylic nails is a sure sign of contamination. 

It’s vital to get them treated right away to avoid any infection.

We did several hours of research and compiled the relevant information you need to know about this green fungus and how you can salvage your nails.

Acrylic Nails Vs. Gel Polished Nails

Artificial nails are mainly made of acrylic polymers (acrylic plastic) and placed over fingernails as fashion accessories. 

These enhancements don’t typically ruin the natural nails. But they can sometimes cause allergic reactions or infections.

Fake nails come in two types: acrylic and gel. 

Acrylic nails are made up of plastic material. 

The nail salon employee will file down your natural nails to make their texture rough so the nail tips can easily stick to them. 

Then, a mixture of acrylic powder and acrylic liquid is brushed on top of your natural nail, forming a hard shell glued on the nail tips. 

On the other hand, gels are painted similar to regular nail polish. 

Then, your nails are placed under ultraviolet (UV) light to cure or harden the gel with each gel nail polish application. 

Compared to regular polish, gels can last for up to four weeks. 

Take note, though, that gel nail polish is hard to remove and you might need to visit the salon just to remove them.

What Are Green Fungus Under Acrylic Nail?

When your natural nails grow after an acrylic enhancement, you’ll see a small gap between your cuticle and the acrylic nail. 

If they become loose over time, moisture gets trapped between the acrylic nails and your natural fingernails. 

The green spot you see is a fungus infection that has tainted the nail. 

Fungus grows in moist environments and will thrive around the trapped water. 

The fungi responsible for the green discoloration are dermatophytes that require keratin found in the hair, skin, and nails to survive. 

These fungi can come from direct contact with other people, animals, soil, and objects. 

If not given proper attention, they can live and multiply, causing a severe infection on your nails.

Other Symptoms Of Fungus Infection Under Acrylic Nail

Even if you don’t see green spots in your nails, other symptoms indicate a fungal infection. 

Here are some of them:

  • Your fingers are red and swollen.
  • You’ll experience itchiness in and around your nails.
  • There’s a foul smell coming from the nails.
  • You feel pain when you put pressure on your nails.
  • Yellow, black, or white discoloration occurs on your nails.
  • Your nails become brittle.
  • Your nails become thick.

What Are The Causes Of Infections On Acrylic Nails?

Studies reveal that 50% of nail disorders are common with acrylic nails. 

Here are the causes of nail infection on these fashion enhancements:

  • The adhesive used becomes loose.
  • The adhesives were not appropriately placed.
  • There are cracks that appear on the nails after doing physical activities.
  • The selection of fake nails sizes don’t fit the natural nailbed.
  • The tools used for putting the acrylic nails weren’t disinfected.
  • There’s a long-term water exposure of the hands.

What Are The Treatments For Green Fungus Under Acrylic Nail?

People with green fungus under their acrylic nails can try some home remedies. 

However, it’s still best to seek medical guidance before the infection starts worsening or becomes severe.

Here are some home remedies on how to get rid of green nails after false nails are infected that have worked for other people:

  • Soak your nails in vinegar for 30 minutes. Use a 2:1 ratio of warm water to vinegar. Vinegar has acetic acid that has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help stomp the growth of fungi and bacteria. 
  • Try the good ol’ Vicks. A study revealed that Vicks VapoRub has a positive clinical effect on killing toenail fungus. You can apply a small amount of Vicks on your nails once a day and wait for the results.
  • Apply some oregano oil. Oregano oil has thymol, a substance that also has antifungal properties registered for use as a medical disinfectant, among others. Put small amounts of oregano oil on your nail twice a day and monitor your nails’ reaction.

If the home remedies don’t work for you, you need to see a doctor and follow their directions. 

Here are some of the medical treatments they can provide:

  • An oral antifungal medication called terbinafine
  • Other antifungal medications, such as itraconazole, fluconazole, and griseofulvin
  • Laser treatment
  • Topical antibiotic application of 2 to 4 times a day

Painting Over Green Nails

Another important question that you may have in mind is: “Can I paint over green nails?”

We recommend against it. 

We know it’s embarrassing to just let your nails lay bear for everyone to see, especially if it’s infected. 

However, you should know that it’s not advisable to cover them with nail polish as it may foster the growth of the fungi. 

A study found evidence that fungi can live and multiply in some nail polishes. 

It’s the reason why it’s better to avoid using nail polish if your nails are infected. 

You can even infect others when you share nail polishes. 

In cases like these, always seek the necessary treatments and follow them through.

Additionally, you won’t be able to see how your nail is reacting to your treatments if it’s covered by nail polish. 

Unless the infection is fully resolved, refrain from using any nail polish to cover your infection.

How To Prevent Green Under Fake Nails?

Prevention is better than cure. 

So if you’re fond of using fake nails, then you need to ensure that you’re applying and removing them correctly. 

It’s  to avoid damage on your natural nails and to steer clear of stressful impurities.

Avoid green nails and fungus infection by:

  • Washing your hands with antibacterial soap and running water.
  • Validating if the nail salon you’re visiting is licensed and professional.
  • Ensuring your nail technician cleans your nails with rubbing alcohol before putting on the acrylic nails.  
  • Double checking if the nail spa sanitized their nail tools.
  • Confirming that your nail enhancements fit your natural nails perfectly. 
  • Verifying that your naked nails are dry before the application process.


  • If you can’t avoid direct contact with water, make sure it won’t exceed two hours.
  • After bathing or swimming, always make sure that your nails are dry. 
  • Do your best to keep your hands dry.
  • Don’t put any sharp objects under your nails as they can cause cracks. 
  • As much as possible, don’t do rough activities to keep away from damaging your nails. 

Other Potential Risks Of Acrylic Nails

Besides fungal infections, there are other nail contaminations and breakage you can get. 

Here are some of the common ones:

Bacterial Infection

A common bacterial infection of the nail is called Paronychia. 

It’s caused by bacteria entering the skin through cuts or the skin around the nail. 

The inflammation can result in a thick, infectious fluid or pus. 

Medical treatments to solve bacterial infections are antibiotics with the help of healthcare providers to drain the pus.

Allergic Reaction

Some people have an allergic reaction to the ingredients of nail polish or the adhesive used to put acrylic nails. 

They occur in the area around the nail and can cause dry skin, redness, itchiness, and swelling. 

Medical treatments for allergic reactions include antihistamines, corticosteroids, or decongestants.

Nailbed Trauma

Because acrylic nails are rigid and require a strong fusion with the natural nails and the nail bed, any collisions on your fingernails may lift its base

Frequent knocks and bumps to your nails will seriously break and damage your nails as a whole.

Tips To Take Care Of Your Acrylic Nails

If you already have acrylic nails on, or still plan to continue to have them, you can still do so. 

Just like with other enhancements, you only need to take care of them so they last longer and don’t lead to any infection. 

Here are some acrylic nail tips you can follow: 

  • Do a test nail. Have one nail done first instead of all of them in one go. It’s to see if a reaction will develop as an effect of the materials used for the artificial nails.
  • Let nail and skin infections pass first. Don’t apply an artificial nail if your natural nail and the skin around it have an infection. Make sure that the condition is healed first.
  • Be wary of DIY acrylics. Read the directions for do-it-yourself nails carefully. Take note of the ingredients listed in the packaging to see if you may suffer any allergic reaction.
  • Be careful of your nails. Try not to bump or knock your nails on hard and sharp objects. Ask someone to do tasks for you or think of finishing tasks in a way that put less stress to your nails. For example, you can use a pen to press the elevator buttons.
  • Don’t shortchange yourself of credible products. Use products that are intended for nail use only. They may be more expensive than their home made counterparts. But if you end up with an infection, you will spend more. 
  • Let your nails rest. Don’t wear artificial nails all the time. Schedule the times when you really want to wear them and make sure to put gaps in between.

Other Nail Polish You Can Try

Acrylic nails are not the only enhancement you can try. If you’re looking for alternatives that might work better for you, check out the following:

Basic or Regular Polish

If you want to try different nail polish colors every week and don’t mind them chipping within these days, go for the regular nail polish.

It’s the typical nail polish used that can be found in every store. 

It’s simple to apply with a variety of colors and textures. 

This nail polish can come in holographic, matte, glossy, and more.

If you don’t want to commit on a nail polish color and accessories, go basic.


It is the most recommended type of polish because it allows air and water molecules to pass through the nails and the color as if they are part of your natural nails. 

Choose this nail polish if you want to improve or keep the health of your nails and the skin surrounding it. 

You can find it by looking for nail polishes labeled “water-permeable.” 

It’s highly recommended for anyone who always wears nail polish to give themselves a break and let their natural nails “breathe.”


It’s a hybrid of acrylic and gel nail polish. 

The nail technician uses an acrylic brush with a gel-like texture polish and puts them on the nails. 

It is formed according to your nail shape and cured using LED or UV light.

Dip Powder

As its name suggests, your nails are dipped in powder so you can get the color you like. 

Your nails are prepared with a base coat polish, dipped into the powder, and finished with another base coat.


It’s a cross between basic and gel nail polish. They are applied similarly to basic nail polish but cured with UV or LED light.