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Can You Leave Nail Polish on Too Long?

It happens to the best of us. Sometimes, you just kind of forget to take off your nail polish — especially toe nail polish, which gets hidden in socks and shoes. By the time you get around to it, your polish may have chipped off, leaving your nails discolored and yellow or maybe you notice white spots. And you might have heard that leaving nail polish on too long prevents your nails from breathing, leading to fungal infections. But the truth is that while you can leave your polish on for too long, the results probably aren’t as bad you fear.

Nails are technically dead, so you don’t have to worry about them breathing. Polish can leave stains, which is why your nails may appear yellow once you finally take off the polish. You might also notice white marks on your nails. This probably isn’t a fungus, but it is an indicator that your nails are very dry. Polish can dry out nails, causing white spots to appear. Nail polish doesn’t cause fungus, but it’s not a good idea to wear polish if you do have a fungus. Also, if you do have other nail or health issues, you won’t be able to tell if you have polish on your nails at all times, so it’s best to allow them time without polish, even for just a day or two.

To keep your nails healthy, be sure to always use a base coat, which prevents the polish from soaking into your nails and making them dry and brittle. A high-quality base coat between your nail and polish is all that it takes to prevent them from damage.

In general, you can’t really leave your polish on for too long but experts do recommend taking time between pedicures to let them be natural so that you can check to see any signs that something may be wrong.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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