Acrylic cures over 24 hours and can feel like it is tightening on the nails if the natural nail has been overfiled thin. It can feel very painful and even hot water can hurt.
Any damage to the natural nail will take up to 9 months to grow out!
The Nail School
Acrylic nails generally are safe and won't harm your natural nails. However, a serious problem that may result from acrylic nails is a nail infection.
Sometimes a gap develops between the acrylic nail and the natural nail — for example, if the acrylic nail is bumped or jarred, it may separate from the natural nail. This gap provides a moist, warm environment in which bacteria and fungi can grow. An infection may also occur if an acrylic nail is left in place for prolonged periods, or if the salon uses unsanitary tools to apply your nails. If an infection occurs, the natural nail may become thickened and discolored and should be evaluated by a dermatologist.
Rarely, a person may have an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) to components of acrylic nails or the adhesives used to apply them. This usually results in some redness, swelling and pain around the nail. If it's excessive or persists, consult a dermatologist.
The key to preventing infection and nail damage due to artificial nails is to choose a reputable, qualified nail technician
The two worst things that damage your natural nails is over preparation of the natural nail by a bad technician or incorrect removal ie. picking them off instead of soaking them off in Acetone.