Most women head to the local nail salon to get their manicures and never give their fingernails a second thought. Although nail technicians definitely know what they’re doing and are able to get your nails looking their best, there is a difference between having “nice looking” nails and “healthy” nails. In order to make sure that you’re taking care of your fingernails, you have to take all parts of it into consideration. This includes the cuticles.
In general, people do not pay any mind to their cuticles unless there is an issue like little strips of skin peeling off or if their cuticles get injured. But it is in your best interest to make sure the health of your cuticles is a priority in your nail care if you want to avoid more serious problems down the line. One way to better appreciate the role your cuticles play is to know what they do. Simply put, cuticles act as a protective barrier for the new cells and the tissue that fosters them in your nails. When your nails grow and keratin is produced, the cuticle is responsible for making sure that the new keratin is able to grow and harden, which results in new nails.
The healthier your cuticles are the healthier your fingernails will be. Neglect can result in a number of issues including infections, which can be extremely painful and can damage the appearance of your nails overall.
The good news is that including the cuticles in your nail care routine is fairly simple if you know what to do. If you make it a habit to visit the nail salon regularly, chances are your cuticles are already receiving proper nail care – it is very important that the nail technician always uses sterilized, clean tools when handling your nails and cuticles. Failure to maintain this hygienic measure increases your odds of developing an infection. For those of you that prefer to maintain your nail care regimen at home, there are steps you can take to make sure that your cuticles are always in tip top shop, along with the rest of your fingernails.
One of the most crucial nail care steps you should practice regularly is moisturizing your cuticles. When your hands get too dry, this leads to cracking, which also affects the cuticles. Moisturizing your cuticles is as easy as using a special cuticle cream, which is specially formulated to hydrate the sensitive skin of the cuticle. Before applying the moisturizer, soak your fingers in lukewarm water for 10 minutes. This will make the cuticles easier to handle. Gently apply the cuticle cream directly onto each cuticle and massage the cream in until it is absorbed.
It is also important to check that your cuticles are not overgrown. You’ll be able to tell if this is an issue. If you notice that the skin of your cuticles is starting to creep up on your nails, push them down gently after soaking them in lukewarm water. Use a special nail care stick made of wood to do this – never use metal nail care tools. Push the cuticle back gently but not too far.
In general it is not recommended to cut your cuticles. Keeping them moisturized, pushing them back as needed and keeping them in overall good shape will prevent the need for this. Cutting cuticles often results in cutting too much, injuring the area and/or developing an infection.