Looking after your nails is hugely important but what about that thin bit of skin down the bottom of your nail? Have you thought about that recently?
This bit of skin is called the cuticle and it is a powerhouse in keeping your nails and hands free from infection.
Often cuticles can get damaged from not being cared for, being cut, or having frequent nail treatments. We are here to show you how you can heal damaged cuticles and keep them healthy.
What Are Cuticles?
The cuticle is the transparent skin that is located around the nail base. It acts as a barrier to prevent bacteria from getting under the nails which could lead to infection in both the nails and the hands.
Cuticles are a very important part of nail health and often they are overlooked and not taken care of.
Cutting the cuticles became popular through nail technicians as it was believed that cutting away cuticles allowed nail varnish to last longer and to be applied easier.
It also made the nail bed longer but pushing cuticles back will achieve the same results and cause less damage and lower the risk of infection.
How To Heal Your Cuticles
Damaged cuticles can be painful and you might be wondering what you can do to repair and heal them. Below we look at the simple steps you can take to repair your cuticles and make them stronger than ever.
Restorative Nail Cream
Damaged cuticles are proof of damage to both your cuticles and nail bed. Restoring your nails is a great way of flooding your cuticles with the good stuff.
Apply a nail cream twice a day and massage gently into the nail and cuticle. You can purchase nail creams in any drugstore across the country.
Avoid Pushing Or Cutting
A hugely important part of healing your cuticles is to leave your cuticles alone! Don’t pick them or push them back and especially don’t cut them as this would cause even more trauma to the cuticle.
Leave your cuticles alone until they are fully healed and all feelings of tenderness have gone away.
Related: How to clean under acrylic nails
Cuticle Oil is a great way of giving your cuticles some love. You can buy hydrating and restorative oils in most drugstores.
Massage into the cuticles as often as needed. Cuticle Oil should not be put on an open wound as it could exacerbate the issue.
Cuticles are composed mostly of skin so it is very important that you moisturize not only the cuticles but the surrounding skin.
Apply hand cream twice a day but do not use this if your cuticles are broken and extremely infected.
Avoid Your Mouth
Avoid putting your fingers in your mouth at all costs. Our mouths are full of bacteria and are the worst place to put infected or damaged cuticles.
Find a hobby that will keep your hands busy so that you won’t mindlessly start chewing or biting your nails or cuticles.
Knitting is a great way of keeping your hands busy while watching television.
For serious infections, we recommend visiting a medical professional as you may need a course of antibiotics or a steroid cream to help kill the infection.
How To Prevent Cuticle Damage
The cuticles protect your nail from damage and infection. When they’re damaged or worn down, it can make them look dull and dry. Here are ways that you can prevent cuticle damage.
Avoid Picking Your Cuticles
Often people will push back the cuticles out of habit and then pull on the skin or pick at the cuticle.
If you have a long cuticle that you want to remove, carefully remove it with a pair of cuticle clippers instead of ripping it off or biting it off.
Limit Harsh Products
Limit your use of harsh nail polish and removers. Use a non-acetone nail polish remover.
These harsh chemicals can often dry out both the nail and the cuticle, making your cuticles dry and cracked and the nails brittle.
Go for soak off polishes or avoid heavier nail polishes that require such strong products to be removed.
Let Your Nails Breathe
Often getting your nails done frequently can damage your nails and cuticles. If you frequently get heavy nail treatments such as gel or acrylic nails or extensions, always take a break between pairs.
Giving your nails a few days to breathe allows you to apply hydrating nail oils and cuticle oils which will help to strengthen your nails and cuticles again.
Pamper Your Cuticles
Applying cuticle oil to your cuticles daily is a fantastic way to prevent cuticle damage.
Even if you have your nails painted you can apply oil as the clear topcoat acts as a sealant for your manicured paws meaning the oil won’t affect your manicure.
Limit Harsh Products
The cuticles are part of the skin and so it is important that you look after all the skin on your hands. Apply hand cream at least twice a day and anytime that the skin feels dry or tight.
Hands are the first place to show signs of aging so taking care of your skin will help to keep your hands looking younger for longer.
Push, Don’t Cut
If you are getting your nails done in the salon you can ask your nail technician to push back the cuticles rather than cutting them.
By explaining that you are trying to heal or maintain your cuticles any good nail technician will respect your request. You should only cut the cuticle if there is a tear or if they have grown far up along the nail.
Taking care of your cuticles is a hugely vital part of maintaining your nail and hand health as well as keeping your cuticles strong also.
By taking on board the preventative tips that we have given you we are sure that you will be able to maintain healthy cuticles after repairing and healing any cuticle damage.
If you think that you may have a serious or painful infection of your cuticle, please be sure to consult your doctor.