Your cuticles make so tiny a part of your overall looks that you hardly give them a thought apart from when you are getting a manicure; but probably they deserve their share of attention which is due to the skin (for this is what they really are). The cuticles cover the growth matrix of the nails, which is some job, too. They are a protective layer, and you should see to it that the protection is ever firm. Here are a few tips for those who care to have healthy cuticles.
Cutting off Your Cuticles Is Risky
According to skin experts, you don’t need to cut off your cuticles – while you have reasons not to. By removing the cuticle you leave this area of the skin gaping, open for anything to get in. It can result in irritation or infection as well as cuticle fractures. The nails can be affected, too. White spots and white lines can appear.
Once you have gotten the cuticle area infected, it begins to feel uncomfortable, and the bacteria can even tamper with the nail’s growth.
The reason behind cutting off the cuticles with many people is that they believe their cuticles will grow and it will spoil the overall look of the hands. In fact, they have nothing to worry about, dermatologists reassure us that cuticles never grow so dramatically, and you can lay aside your cuticle clippers for the orange stick.
Don’t Treat Cuticles with Metal
When you buy a cuticle trimmer, go for wooden, plastic or rubber ones. Don’t work on your cuticles with a metallic tool for fear of damaging them. Metal is all right for dealing with a ragged edge, but not for pushing back a cuticle.
Orange Stick is Your Best Bet
A common reason to do job on your cuticles is to make the nails look longer. Do a little gentle pushing using a wooden orange stick preferably.
- For that, take a cuticle remover rather than a special cream or oil.
- Take an orangewood stick and push your cuticles back gently, taking care not to apply great pressure.
- To finish off, work in circles with your cuticle tool to remove dead and excess skin.
Don’t Omit to Moisturize
They may not be so soft as most of the skin, yet that doesn’t mean they can do without moisturizing. Cuticles are also mostly skin, they can get dry and, consequently, are apt to crack, flake and peel, and need treatment. No special skin moisturizer is needed, when you work on your hands with any type of moisturizer, rub some into the cuticles too.
If you feel they need special care, though, opt for thicker products like creams and ointments.
For an inexpensive product for cuticle care, especially at nighttime, use petroleum jelly (Vaseline), as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.
While a lotion is not as good a moisturizer as an ointment or a cream, you can use one at daytime when the hands get less grease on them.
At a manicure salon you can be offered to have a hot wax treatment, which is quite fine for cuticle moisturizing. First they melt down some special oily wax and get you to plunge your hands in the warm substance. When you take your hands out you put on special plastic gloves with a mitt over them to keep warm wax working for up to a quarter of an hour.
As long as you don’t neglect to moisturize your finger skin, including the cuticles, you can opt for any way you like best.
Order Gentle Manicure Only
Usually people go to see the dermatologist when things go wrong with their nails and/or cuticles, like developing paronychia, a kind of skin infection when sore red spots spring up on the area next to the nails.
When you come in to get your nails treated, instruct your manicurist that you want her to push the cuticles back using an orange stick putting gentle pressure, and that’s all. If she applies too much vigor, tell her to stop doing it immediately.
Drying Agents Pose a Threat
The things that make your hands (and nails and cuticles!) go dry are nail polish remover based on acetone and washing up frequently. When you get nail polish remover, choose acetone-free brands, and when you go to get dishes done, put on gloves.
Experts advise to invest in vinyl gloves for doing your washing. As you get down to washing clothes or kitchenware, first apply some lubricant, then don the gloves to protect the nails and the cuticles from the drying effects and avoid the removal of the lubricant during the washing.
Dry Cuticles are Damaged More Easily
Most women know only too well that they want to push the cuticles back to keep their hands looking good and the nails longer. Usually, there is nothing wrong with that. But when you are about to set to work on your cuticles, make sure they are no dry. If you suspect they are rather dry, moisturize them before you proceed, or simply give them a good soak-up. This way you take care they don’t get hurt in the process.
Nails and Mouth Should Better Stay Apart
You know that there is much dirt accumulating inside your mouth, and saliva is actually bad for the skin. If you bite your nails or can’t but nibble on your cuticles, you run the risk of breaking a cuticle and get an infection in. These habits are really very unhealthy and had better be broken.
Don’t Hurry over Your Cuticles
As you evolve the habit of taking care of your cuticles, prepare your nails and cuticles properly and carefully, without hurrying over the process. You need patience to keep your finger skin and nails as beautiful and healthy as you can.
Bonus Tips: diy Nail Cuticle Treatment
You may also prep a homemade cuticle cream. Here’s how:
- 1 tbsp organic beeswax
- 2 tbsp organic shea butter
- 5 drops of lavender (or orange) essential oil
- A couple drops of Vitamin E oil
How to make a cuticle cream at home?
Take a small saucepan, pour in a 1/3 amount of water, and make it boil. While it is being heated, mix some shea butter and beeswax together and put the mixture into the water. When the mixture has melted, take it out carefully, add Vitamin E oil and other essential oils, and stir it up well. You have no essential oils handy? You can do without them in the mixture, but you might as well get them for the next time: they have antibacterial properties to ensure that the nail beds are clean, and they make the cream fragrant.
Get a small container or canister ready to put the mixture in until it comes to room temperature and gets solid.
In case you have found you have no necessary ingredients, treat your cuticles with olive oil (oh, any kind of oil will do!) regularly to keep them soft and avoid cracking.
How To Care For Your Nail Cuticles
- Cutting off your cuticles is risky
- Don’t treat cuticles with metal
- Orange stick is your best bet
- Don’t omit to moisturize
- Order gentle manicure only
- Drying agents pose a threat
- Dry cuticles are damaged more easily
- Nails and mouth should better stay apart
- Don’t hurry over your cuticles
- Try a diy nail cuticle treatment
About the Author
Daria Kurilko is the founder, writer and editor of Geniusbeauty.com – an online guide for women about beauty, health and relationships. She has a master’s degree in sociology with a number of scientific publications to her credit and extensive experience in marketing and PR. Daria, who currently lives in Wiesbaden, Germany, is also a loving mother and wife. Since 2007 she enjoys sharing her experiences and broad knowledge about all things nutrition, beauty and lifestyle with her readers.