Cuticles are an important part of nails and fingers and require proper care, especially the nail bed. If you're wondering how to care for them at home, keep reading...
What is your cuticle?
The cuticle is a layer of skin that forms at the bottom edges of your nail bed. It serves the purpose of protecting your nails as they grow from the base. However, this area of skin is extremely fragile and can easily become infected or dried out. It's important to note that some individuals confuse the cuticle with the nail lunula, which is the half-moon shape located directly above the cuticle at the bottom of the nail.
Should you cut them?
Opinions are divided on whether or not to cut cuticles. The American Academy of Dermatology advises against it, as although it may appear beneficial during a manicure improper cutting can lead to problems for some people.
Some nail technicians in nail salons say that cutting cuticles will help the nail polish last longer and give the nails a perfect clean finish. It's up to you to decide whether you like to do this at home or by a nail technician if you like to play it safe. If you decide to push back your cuticles and cut them be sure to soften the cuticles first. Soak your nails in warm water and apply a moisturiser or cuticle softener. Push back the cuticles first and then cautiously trim the extra skin and hangnails. We would advise you to not cut the entire cuticle off as this may result in deep cuts.
Pushing cuticles back
For those looking to create the illusion of longer nails by pushing back their cuticles, it's important to use the right tools. Our metal cuticle pusher is designed with a soft curve to fit snugly near your cuticles, allowing for gentle and effective removal. This tool works wonders without requiring much effort on your part. Alternatively, you can use an orange stick made of wood to achieve the same result. However, it's important to note that this tool should be disposed of after a few uses.
Before pushing back your cuticles, soak your nails in warm water and remove any existing nail polish with a non-acetone remover. Rest your hand on a flat surface and push the skin back. Hold your pusher at an angle to loosen dirt and prevent ingrown nails from forming. Then rub your nails with a warm washcloth, use your cuticle cutter and carefully remove the cuticle but avoid cutting the skin deep around your nail.
To keep your cuticles healthy, moisturise them daily with lotion or cuticle oil. Gently apply and massage into the cuticles and nail plate for absorption.
If your cuticles become excessively dry, they may start to peel and crack, which can be quite painful and make them grow thicker than usual. To avoid this, it's recommended to gently push back your cuticles once a week. You can also do this after a shower or bath, as the warm water softens them.
Biting your cuticles is a common habit, especially for those who suffer from anxiety. However, it can cause damage to your nails and cuticles, making them harder to repair. Instead of biting, consider using a nail file or trimmer to smooth them out. If you still feel the urge to bite, try applying a nail-biting solution to the skin around your nails - its unpleasant taste should deter you. Remember, the skin around your nails is just as sensitive as the rest of your skin, so be sure to protect it from sun damage by applying SPF. This will help prevent premature sun spots from appearing on your hands.
Before beginning any cuticle care, it's important to wash your hands thoroughly with soap. This will eliminate any bacteria on your hands that could get trapped under the cuticle or nail bed. If the skin is cut improperly, pathogens may enter, resulting in infections. If you plan on using a cuticle pusher, it's best to use the spoon-shaped side rather than the sharp end. While the sharp end aids in removing dirt and debris from corners, overuse can cause dents on the nail bed or skin damage. If you have sensitive skin, be cautious about the materials you use. Metal cuticle pushers can be rough on the skin and should be avoided as they may cause bleeding or bruising. Wood or silicone materials are gentler on the skin, but they aren't as durable as metal.
It's important to remember to regularly sanitize your nail tools to prevent the spread of bacteria. This is especially crucial if you share your tools with others. Utilizing hot water and mild soap can effectively remove germs from any surface. Be sure to allow your cuticle pusher to fully dry before using it again.
Precautions when getting nails done
When you have someone else do your nails, it's important to take precautions to keep them protected. Before visiting a nail salon, make sure they have a current state-certified license on display. If you're trying a new salon, do some research online or ask for recommendations. It's best to only let experienced, certified technicians work on your nails. Also, ensure that all tools used on your nails are properly sanitized. If they don't look clean, don't be afraid to speak up and ask for them to be cleaned before use.
How to care for nails
Now that you have learned all about how to properly care for your cuticles let's talk about your actual nails. Here are some do's and dont's:
- keep your fingernails clean at all times and remove excess dirt from underneath them.
- use lotion on your hands and nails and keep them feeling soft
- take a supplement like biotin to strengthen your nails and prevent breakage
- trim your nails and ensure to file the corners out
- be extra careful in the wintertime as nails get extra brittle in the cold
- don't bite your fingernails as this damages the nail bed and allows bacteria into the nail
- never rip your hangnails as this can result in ripping off live tissue
- don't use acetone or nail polish remove it as this can weaken the nail beds
- if you have a nail problem that can't go away it is best to consult a doctor and address your concerns properly.
Taking care of your cuticles requires time and patience, but it is essential for achieving healthy nails. By learning how to properly tend to your cuticles, your manicure can look significantly better. To promote healthy nail growth, it's important to establish a consistent routine for nail care.