Is it safe to cut them?
Research about the safety of cutting cuticles is mixed. This includes cutting them at home or in a nail salon.
Cuticles protect both your nails and the skin surrounding them from infection. After cutting the cuticle, it’s easier for bacteria and germs to get inside. This can lead to an infection.
Most nail salons continue to cut cuticles, despite these guidelines. They argue that it helps polish go on better and stay on longer.
Instead of having them cut at your next manicure, ask your technician to just push back the cuticle and trim loose skin and hangnails.
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How can you safely remove or trim them?
If you still want to trim your cuticles, it’s important to soften them first. You can do this by soaking your nails in warm water. Taking a bath or shower can also help soften them.
Next, apply cuticle remover. If your cuticles are dry, apply a moisturizer, too.
Using a cuticle pusher, carefully push back the cuticle along the nail bed. Trim excess skin and hangnails but never cut off the entire cuticle. The idea is to remove excess skin and hangnails only.
Cuticle pushers are made from various materials. You can purchase them at most beauty supply stores or online.
Cracked or peeling cuticles
The area around the nail bed is very delicate. It’s common for cuticles to crack or peel. You can use cuticle oil or moisturizer to hydrate them. It’s safe to apply daily. You can also apply Vaseline overnight to soothe damaged cuticles.
How can you prevent cuticle damage?
Avoid picking at your cuticle. If you have a hangnail, carefully remove it with tweezers or clippers, instead of ripping it out or biting it off.
Also limit your use of harsh nail polishes and removers. Use an acetone-free formula for a nail polish remover.
Paronychia is an infection of the skin around your cuticles. Symptoms may include:
– redness of the skin around the nail
– pus-filled blisters
– changes in nail shape, color, or texture
– nail detachment
Mild forms of paronychia can usually be treated at home. Your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal medication for more serious cases. If you experience chronic paronychia, see your doctor for treatment.
Tips for getting a manicure
When visiting a nail salon, keep these tips in mind:
– Only visit salons that display a current, state-certified license.
– Work only with technicians who are also licensed by the state board.
– Make sure all tools are sterilized and look clean before getting your nails done.
– If you are concerned about the quality of equipment, you can bring your own. Most nail files, clippers, and cuticle sticks can be purchased relatively inexpensively online.
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