Press-on nails have transformed over the years, offering many more options. One day, you can wear a coffin nail with bedazzled designs and the next could be an almond shape with neon green French tips.

Press-on nails are so popular that celebrities like Nicki Minaj and Monyetta Shaw are selling their own nail kit lines. The convenience and affordability of press-on nails are appealing to women. However, as with other beauty hacks, there may be some risks involved with the process.

Although the nail kits offer versatility and beauty at a fraction of the cost, doctors warn that improper application and caring for press-on nails can lead to serious problems.

“The main risks of press on nails are infections, allergic reactions and damage to various parts of the nail unit,” said dermatologist Taryn Murray in a recent press release from the Cleveland Clinic.

press-on nails

Before the false nail is applied, it’s important that the natural nail is completely clean and dry. If moisture and dirt becomes trapped between the nails, it can allow fungus and bacteria to grow. Murray suggests limiting how long you wear press-on nails, to reduce the risk of infection. She also recommends keeping the fake nails at a short length.

“The longer the nail is, the more likely it is to cause separation between the natural nail and the nail bed,” Murray said. “[That] can increase the risk of microorganisms getting underneath.”

If you experience swelling, redness, tenderness or discoloration around the nail, then it may be a sign of infection.

Before applying artificial nails and nail glue, take a look at the ingredients. There may be something in either the nails or the glue that you could be allergic to. According to the press release, an allergy to the ingredients can develop over time.

To reduce this risk, make sure you are adding just enough glue directly to the artificial nail and your real nail. You don’t want it to touch your cuticles or skin. This can happen when you add too much glue and it begins to seep out of the sides of the nail.

Closeup shot of fashionable rings on a woman’s hands

If applied the correct way, press-on nails can last for about two weeks. When you’re ready for a new set, ripping them off is the wrong way to do it. It can lead to brittle nails and breakage, according to Murray.

There are several ways to safely remove press-on nails. Try soaking them in a bowl of warm water and soap for about 15 minutes to break down the nail glue. When you’ve finished, buff the nails to remove any excess glue.

You also can soak them in acetone nail remover. With this method, start by trimming the press on nails. Then, soak them in acetone for 15- to 20-minutes. After that, remove the leftover press-on nails. Follow that with buffing the nails to ensure you remove any excess glue.