What Should I Know About Cuticle Care?

Greta Gunselman

Nails are often referred to as the barometer of one’s health. That just proves that the most important thing to know about cuticle care is that it can and does reflect a person’s health and hygiene. Cuticles help protect the body from bacteria. They are considered a wall of sorts and, considering how filthy hands and feet can get, a pretty important one at that. To prevent concern over bacteria entering the body in this fashion, just avoid cutting the cuticle. Trimming is fine, to remove the dead and the dried out pieces of cuticle, but do not cut off the whole cuticle.

Regularly exposing the cuticles to nail polish remover can dry them out.Regularly exposing the cuticles to nail polish remover can dry them out.
Regularly exposing the cuticles to nail polish remover can dry them out.Regularly exposing the cuticles to nail polish remover can dry them out.

There are some other problems that can develop with poor cuticle care. Acrylic or other types of synthetic nails can cause the cuticles to itch or even blisters to appear. Darkening or discoloration of the nail is a sign of a fungal contamination. Of course, it is also possible for everyday cleaning solutions to cause an irritation around the cuticle as well. Of course, the much hated hangnail is a symptom of dry cuticles. To do your best to avoid these types of situations, it is wise to practice good cuticle care.

Cuticle scissors.
Cuticle scissors.

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Cuticle care is a very simple process that will not take much of a person’s time. For the hands, do not let the cuticles dry out. This means that you should use a moisturizer as often as possible--every time the hands are washed is ideal. An alternative to moisturizers is to gently rub warm olive oil into the cuticles after bathing. For those that like to paint nails, try not to use nail polish remover more than once a week.

Olive oil is a good cuticle moisturizer.
Olive oil is a good cuticle moisturizer.

Another cuticle care tip is to wear rubber gloves when using cleaning products. Try not to forcefully work the cuticle. This means that when cuticle care is being performed, do not roughly remove dead or old cuticle from the nails. Instead, try to gently remove the dead or dried skin with a soft wash cloth or rag. It is very important to use the proper tools when removing dead or dry cuticles from the nails. Only an orangewood stick and cuticle remover is appropriate for proper cuticle care. Never use metal instruments as they can be damaging to the fragile skin.

The services of a podiatrist may be required to handle infection of the cuticles.
The services of a podiatrist may be required to handle infection of the cuticles.

If a person frequents nail salons, it is important to their cuticle care to ensure that the nail technicians use only clean and sterilized instruments. If the salon appears to be unclean or the instruments unsterilized, stop frequenting this salon and find one that meets the proper requirements needed to provide the nails with acceptable care.

Improper removal of a hangnail may cause an infection to develop.
Improper removal of a hangnail may cause an infection to develop.

It is also dangerous to over-care for the cuticles. This can result in thickening of the cuticle itself. Also, if an infection is discovered, seek a professional dermatologist or podiatrist to provide the correct care necessary to heal the hand or foot which is affected.

Moisturizing the cuticles helps keep the nails healthy.
Moisturizing the cuticles helps keep the nails healthy.
Wearing rubber gloves while cleaning can help keep cuticles healthy.
Wearing rubber gloves while cleaning can help keep cuticles healthy.
A person with a hangnail.
A person with a hangnail.

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