Tips for Getting and Maintaining Great Cuticles

Your cuticles protect your nail’s growth matrix, the part of the nail that grows. Between household chores, work, and the other demands life places upon us, our hands go through a lot each day. While manicures are certainly a great way to care for your nails, for many people, they are a luxury. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your cuticles looking great.

Moisturize: Your cuticles are primarily composed of skin, according to WebMD, and it is important to keep them moisturized. Most dermatologists recommend using heavy creams or ointments to moisturize your cuticles, but these can be messy and difficult to wear during the day. Instead, use a regular skin moisturizing lotion throughout the day, and massage it into your cuticles. Before you go to bed, massage some heavy cream, ointment, or petroleum jelly into your cuticles. This will give the cream or ointment time to soak into your cuticles when you’re not active.

A hot wax treatment is also a great way to moisturize your nails. You can get a hot wax treatment at your local nail salon. A special oily wax is melted. You dip your hands into the warm melted wax, and then put on plastic gloves and a mitt over your hands to keep the heat sealed in. After 10 to 15 minutes, you take the gloves off. Hot wax treatments make your hands, nails, and cuticles much softer.

How Long Nails grow After One Month (Millimeters)

Don’t Cut Cuticles: Your cuticles serve a purpose; they protect your nail’s growth matrix. When you cut or remove your cuticles, you are exposing this part of your nail to bacteria and possible infection. Good Housekeeping recommends leaving your cuticles alone. However, if you feel like you must do something with them, gently push them back with a wooden orange stick once a week after getting out of the shower. Never push your cuticles back when they are dry. Remember to moisturize your cuticles with a thick cream after pushing them back.

Wear Protection: Exposure to drying agents can dry out your cuticles, just like they can dry out your skin. Wear vinyl gloves when you’re washing dishes, using household chemicals, and gardening. If you don’t like wearing gloves while doing the dishes, purchase a dish soap that moisturizes your hands. Remember to wear gloves when you go outdoors in the cold weather as well. Cold weather really dries out the skin. You may find that you need to moisturize your cuticles more often during wintertime as well. WebMD also suggests using nail polish remover that doesn’t contain acetone since acetone dries out the skin.

Don’t Bite Your Nails: Your mouth contains a lot of bacteria, and biting your cuticles gives that bacteria a chance to settle into damaged cuticles and cause an infection. If you have a habit of biting your cuticles, try to break that habit. Try coating your cuticles with an anti-biting nail polish. The polish tastes so bad that you won’t want to bite your cuticles. WebMD suggests wearing a rubber band around your wrist and snapping it every time you think about or begin to bite your cuticles. If you tend to bite your nails while watching television, try doing something else with your hands, such as knitting or crocheting, drawing, coloring, or petting your cat or dog. If all else fails, you can wrap adhesive bandages around your fingertips to prevent you from being able to bite your cuticles.

Cut Hangnails Carefully: While you shouldn’t cut your cuticles, cutting hangnails is okay as long as you are careful when you do so. Use a pair of cuticle clippers to cut hangnails, and apply an antibacterial ointment to your cuticle immediately afterward. Urbane Women stresses the importance of sterilizing your cuticle clippers before each use with alcohol. If you accidentally slip and cut your skin, apply an antibacterial ointment and a bandage to allow the cut to heal.

Choose Nail Technicians Wisely: If you do have the money to go for an occasional manicure, it’s important to choose your nail technician wisely. Some nail technicians can be too rough with your nails and cuticles, which can result in dry, cracked cuticles. Politely ask that your nail technician not cut your cuticles. Remember that they are your nails; you get to decide what will happen to them.

You don’t need a regular manicure at a nail salon to have great-looking cuticles. Simply utilize these tips for cuticle care to get and maintain neat cuticles.