Cuticles are an essential part of the nail and finger. Taking good care of this area keeps your nail bed healthy and looking its best. If you’re wondering how to properly tend to your cuticles at home, keep reading.
What Is Your Cuticle?
Let’s start with the basics. Your cuticle is the layer of skin that forms along the bottom edges of your fingers. Its purpose is to protect your nails when they grow from the base. This is an extremely fragile area of skin and can easily become infected or dry out.
Some people mistake the cuticle for the nail lunula. The difference is that the lunula is the half-moon part of the bottom half of the nail. It is located directly above the cuticle.
Should You Cut Them?
There are a lot of mixed reviews about cutting cuticles. The American Academy of Dermatology warns you not to cut your cuticles, because although it may seem helpful to cut them during a manicure, it can cause problems down the line.
Once you cut your cuticle, you leave it susceptible to infections because it’s easier for bacteria to pass through. Some nail salons say that cutting cuticles will help nail polish stay on longer. It’s up to you at the end of the day, but we recommend gently pushing your cuticles back instead of cutting them.
If you do decide to cut them, make sure you soften your cuticles first. Soak your nails in warm water and apply a moisturizing agent to them. Push the cuticles back first, and then trim the extra skin and hangnails. Avoid cutting your entire cuticle off.
Pushing Cuticles Back
If you want to push your cuticles back to give the appearance of longer nails, make sure you use the right tools. You can use a metal cuticle pusher for this or an orange stick made of wood. The wood pushers will be more gentle on your cuticles.
Before pushing them back, soak your nails in warm water and remove any existing nail polish with a non-acetone remover. If you don’t take off your nail polish, small chips of polish could become lodged in your nail bed and lead to an infection.
Rest your hand on a flat surface and push the skin back along the bottom. Hold the pusher at an angle to loosen dirt and prevent ingrown nails from forming. Afterward, rub your nails with a warm washcloth. You can use a clipper to remove translucent pieces, but avoid cutting the skin on your nail.
To keep your cuticles healthy, you’ll want to moisturize them on a daily basis. You can use lotion, oil, or petroleum jelly for this. When you apply it, gently massage the cuticles to allow them to absorb the moisture.
When you allow your cuticles to become overly dry, they will start to peel and crack. This can be extremely painful and cause your cuticles to start to grow thicker than usual.
Gently push back your cuticles about once a week. This can easily be done after you shower or take a bath.
One of the worst things for your cuticles is biting them. This is a bad habit that is common for a lot of people, especially those with anxiety. When you bite the skin around your nails, it damages your nails and cuticles, making it harder to deal with them.
Instead of biting your cuticles or your nails, use a nail file or trimmer to smooth them out. If you have the urge to bite them, try using a fidget toy instead to distract yourself.
The eponychium (skin that borders the base of the nail plate) burns just as easily as the rest of your skin does. It’s essential to protect your nails with SPF to prevent sun damage. This will also help you avoid premature sun spots from appearing on your hands.
Before you do any cuticle care, make sure you wash your hands with soap. This will remove any bacteria from your hands that could become trapped underneath the cuticle or nail bed. If you cut your cuticle too much, pathogens could quickly enter your body, causing an infection.
If you are going to use a cuticle pusher, use the round side. This is the side that looks like a spoon. Avoid using the pointy end because it could damage your cuticle skin.
If your skin is really sensitive, be careful about the materials you use on them. Metal is harsher on the skin and should be avoided if you easily bleed or bruise. Wood and silicone materials are gentler on the skin but aren’t as durable as metal is.
Don’t forget to wash your nail tools regularly. They need to be sanitized after every use to prevent bacteria from spreading. This is especially true if you share materials with another person.
Use hot water and mild soap to remove dirt and germs from any surfaces. Let your cuticle pusher fully dry before reusing it.
Precautions When Getting Nails Done
When you get your nails done by someone else, it’s important that you still take precautions to protect your nails. When you visit a salon, make sure it is reputable. They should have a current state-certified license on display somewhere.
Before trying a new salon, look online or ask around about their process. You can never be too cautious. Only allow technicians to work on your nails who have been certified by the state board.
You should also make sure that all the tools being used on your nails have been properly sanitized. If they don’t look clean, speak up and say something about it! You’re a paying customer, and you deserve the best treatment.
If you’re nervous about the nail salon’s equipment, ask them if you can bring your own. This might seem like a weird request, but it could prevent an infection that ruins your manicure.
How To Care For Nails
Now that you’ve learned all about how to properly care for your cuticles, let talk about your actual nails. Here are some dos and don’ts.
- Keep your fingernails clean at all times and remove excess dirt from underneath them.
- Use lotion on your hands and nails to keep them feeling soft and supple.
- Take a supplement like biotin to strengthen your nails and prevent breakage.
- Trim your nails straight across and then round them out with a file.
- Be extra careful in the wintertime. Nails get extra brittle in cold weather.
- Don’t bite your fingernails! This damages the nail bed and allows bacteria into the nail.
- Never rip off your hangnails. This could result in ripping off live tissue as well.
- Don’t use acetone nail polish remover. This weakens the nail beds.
- If you have a nail problem that won’t go away, don’t ignore it! Talk to a doctor about the issue so they can properly evaluate you.
Cuticle Care For Press-On Nails
At Clutch Nails, we understand that you might have some concerns about press-on nails and cuticle health. Some cheap press-ons can cause serious damage to your nail beds, but the key to avoiding this is applying them properly. Here’s what you can do:
Wash your hands and remove any polish leftover. Trim your nails, buff them, and gently push your cuticles back. Trim excess skin from around your nail beds. Apply a clear coat if you want to seal your nails before adding the press-ons.
To protect your nails, opt for an adhesive strip instead of glue. This won’t be as strong as nail glue, but it will spare your nails any damage.
Find the nail from the set that best fits your nail shape. Every nail will need a different-sized press-on, so take your time finding the right one. Keep them in order of application once you find the nails you want to use.
Peel off the adhesive from the nail and line it up with your cuticle. Press down on the sides and then the middle of the nail for 30 seconds.
Lastly, apply a hardening topcoat to really seal them into place and make them last longer.
Caring for your cuticles is a process. It takes time and patience to achieve healthy cuticles and nails. Once you learn how to properly tend to your cuticles, your manicures will look ten times better than before.
Press-on nails have been around for many years. However, their quality has always been iffy. People tend to go for something more reliable when they want to do their nails.
But Clutch Nails has redesigned the way press-on nails work. They allow enough room underneath the fake nails for your natural nails to breathe. These nails last way longer than regular nail polish and are less expensive than the salon!