Most people don’t give their cuticles a second thought. You may think cuticle health is trivial, but unhealthy cuticles can impact overall nail health, according to the Mayo Health Clinic.
The American Academy of Dermatology advises against trimming cuticles, a very common practice in nail salons.
Cuticles play a very important role in protecting your nails and keeping them free from germs and infections.
Unfortunately, bad habits like chewing nails, exposure to harsh chemicals, extreme weather, and overzealous beauty practices can all impact your cuticles.
Is there a way to undo severe cuticle damage and rejuvenate your nails and hands?
Table of contents:
- What is a cuticle, and why does it matter?
- How to care for your damaged cuticles?
- How to prevent cuticle damage?
- Tips for maintaining healthy cuticles
What is a cuticle, and why does it matter?
Your cuticle is a fine, transparent layer of skin that runs down on the tip of your finger or toe. It forms what is known as a nail bed.
When new nails grow outwards from the nail root, the cuticle forms a protective barrier between the new nails and any external materials, like dust or germs.
The skin around the cuticles is sensitive, and in many instances, is prone to becoming dry, damaged, and infected. Therefore, to maintain nail health, it is critical to take care of your cuticles.
You may think it is unnecessary, but with time, untended cuticles could lead to other more serious skin conditions.
How to care for your damaged cuticles?
The treatment for a damaged cuticle is determined by the type and extent of cuticle damage, which usually leads to the question—how did they get damaged in the first place?
One of the most common causes is from chewing on your fingernails. This can directly impact your cuticles.
The best way to treat broken skin around your cuticles is to treat it like a cut. So, clean it properly and keep a close eye on it to prevent any infection.
In many cases, damaged cuticles could result in paronychia, a bacterial infection. If you are in pain and notice the appearance of blisters, make sure you consult a specialist immediately.
In addition to chewing, harsh manicures can also damage your nails and cuticles. Repeated and excessive nail treatments can affect your overall nail health. It could lead to dryness, which in turn leads to skin breakage and infections.
Your cuticles contain natural lipids that keep the skin hydrated and smooth. When this protective barrier is compromised, it could negatively impact your nail health. The best remedy for this is to use a good moisturizer or specific cuticle lotions to address the issue.
How to prevent cuticle damage?
The only thing better than a cure is prevention. When it comes to taking care of your cuticles, it’s best to nip bad habits in the bud.
The first step is to stop chewing your nails if you do. Nail chewing is the leading cause of damaged cuticles and should be avoided at all costs.
Seek professional help if the habit persists to determine why you are prone to this nervous behavior and how you can stop it.
Dry skin is yet another culprit of severe cuticle damage. In most cases, this is an occupational hazard.
People who are overexposed to water or irritants could suffer from dry cuticles. Climate can also contribute to this problem.
Several regions have extreme weather, which causes dry winters. If you belong to a similar geographical location, your cuticles are likely to suffer. You can use a thick moisturizing oil like castor oil or opt for moisturizers and lotions designed especially for cuticles.
Tips for maintaining healthy cuticles
Don’t cut your cuticles
According to dermatologists, cutting cuticles only makes your fingers susceptible to infection. When you remove parts of the cuticle, you are inviting bacteria and other allergens, which could compromise your nail health.
Use a stick instead of clippers
You can push your cuticles back gently with a stick if you wish to make your nails appear longer. Remember that cuticles are not meant to be cut.
Never leave them dry
Most dermatologists recommend thick, moisturizing products such as castor oil or other special creams to keep your cuticles hydrated.
When cuticles get dry, they crack, peel and flake, just like your skin. A good moisturizer for your cuticles is as essential as your everyday skincare routine.
Always visit experienced manicures
Many dermatologists have seen several cases of paronychia caused by rough manicurists.
Before starting a manicure, ask your nail care professional to be gentle and push your cuticles back instead of cutting them.
If they push the cuticles too vigorously, ask them to stop the session right away.
Avoid drying detergents
Your hands, nails, and cuticles can dry out from frequent dishwashing and nail polish removers containing acetone.
Therefore, dermatologists recommend using gloves and opting for an acetone-free nail polish remover.
Stop nibbling on your fingernails!
Your saliva contains an enzyme that breaks down the skin surrounding your nails and makes your cuticles even more dry and flaky.
If you unconsciously bite your nails or nibble on your cuticles, you must stop. Get a stress ball, chew candy or simply cut your nails short to get rid of the habit.
Cuticles are tiny but an essential part of your fingers. They prevent infections and therefore deserve a place in your general care routine.
Everybody wants graceful hands and perfectly manicured nails, but there are some essential steps to follow to keep them healthy every day.
Add cuticle care to your daily routine, treat your nails and cuticles as essential parts of a healthy lifestyle, and watch them closely to detect damage.
You can add Castor oil to your routine to prevent dry, flaky, and damaged cuticles. WOW Skin Science’s cold-pressed castor oil has magical properties that restore the natural balance of your hands and nails.
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