What is a Cuticle? What They Really Are and 5 Ways to Care for Them
Jul. 29, 2020
Many people don’t know it, but the cuticle is actually an incredibly important part of your nail, and if they are not looked after properly it can lead to unhealthy nails or even more serious issues. Taking proper care of your cuticles will actually help your body to grow super healthy and strong nails, but what are they, what does a cuticle do, and how do we care for them?
What is a Cuticle?
There is often a lot of confusion about what the cuticle actually is. Well, if you take a look at your nail, you will be able to see a layer of skin around your nail bed, below the pale half-moon shape, known as the lunula. (If you’ve recently had a manicure, it may have been trimmed away, but it’s the skin that the manicurist pushes back and trims at the beginning of your manicure.)
While it may sound scary that someone is cutting your skin, the cuticle is actually non-living tissue that attaches to the nail itself, so it doesn’t hurt when it is damaged.
What Does a Cuticle Do?
Now you know what a cuticle is, but what does a cuticle do? They act as protection from bacteria for the new nails growing through beneath, which can be vulnerable to infection.
As the cuticle is actually attached to the nail, it provides a seal to the rest of the matrix (which we will talk more about below) to prevent any dirt and bacteria from getting in that may cause harm.
Why Do We Need to Care for Our Cuticles?
One of the main reasons we need to care for our cuticles is because they are part of our “nail matrix.” The matrix is an area deep below your nail and set back in your finger where the nail starts to grow. The matrix has an element of control over how healthy our nails are as they grow. Nails are made from keratin, which is produced in this matrix, and as these new, soft keratin cells are formed, the old cells are moved on to form the hard, visible nail.
If any part of your matrix is damaged or unhealthy, such as through improper care, these new cells are often of lower quality and so your nail will grow with abnormalities, such as discoloration, ridges, or brittleness.
When you take proper care of your cuticles it not only protects against abnormalities and infection, it can also help the natural growth of strong, healthy nails.
Is it safe for the manicurist to cut my cuticles?
Although many manicurists will cut cuticles as part of typical manicure steps, both the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the Mayo Clinic recommend that cutting cuticles should be avoided, even when having your nails done by a professional manicurist in a nail salon.
This is because, as mentioned above, your cuticles are what protect your new nail cells from infection, and when they are cut there is more space for bacteria to get in and therefore an increased risk of developing an infection.
You may still find that many manicurists will cut the cuticle despite this risk as they say this helps a manicure to last longer and offer better results. However, you should always ask your manicurist to simply push back your cuticle and trim the loose skin, no longer attached to the nail, not the whole cuticle.
How to Care for Your Cuticles: 5 Top Tips
The important thing to know is how to care for your cuticles in the right way to keep your nails healthy and always looking their best, here are 5 tips:
Keep Them Clean
The simplest way to care for your cuticles is to regularly soak your nails, whether your hands or feet, in warm, soapy water for about 10 minutes. Not only will this help to keep your cuticles soft it’s also super relaxing! (You can do this as part of a relaxing bath!)
Avoid Cutting Your Cuticles
As we mentioned above, there really shouldn’t be any reason to cut your cuticles. It might make your manicure look a little nicer and last a little longer, but it is really not worth the risk of infection.
Avoid cutting your cuticles and avoid abnormalities like ridges, brittle nails, white lines, or white spots. Basically, just an unhealthy nail!
However, note that cutting your cuticle and simply trimming the loose skin are two different things, so gently pushing back excess cuticle and trimming the loose skin is okay.
Use a Wooden Cuticle Stick
If the reason you cut your cuticles is to make your nails look a bit longer, you can get this same effect by simply pushing back the cuticle. Make sure you do this gently with a wooden tool, as opposed to a metal tool, after soaking your nails so that your cuticles will be soft. You’ll often find these in manicure kits.
You probably don’t ever think about it, but your cuticle skin can become dry and cracked like on any other area of your body, and it is just as important to keep them moisturized. You don’t even need a special product, you can simply use a regular body moisturizer or hand cream, just take some time to actively massage it into your cuticles.
Dermatologists advise using a thicker cream or Vaseline when you can as this will provide the best results. If you find that these are too messy to use during the day, while you are at work or just out and about, you can use a thinner lotion during the day and apply the thicker product at night when you go to bed.
You can also buy cuticle oil which can be easily applied throughout the day and is a great way to prevent your cuticles from drying out and the possibility of cracking.
Avoid Drying Agents
The final tip is to avoid any activity that might dry out your cuticles. This includes washing dishes without using rubber gloves and using nail polish remover that isn’t acetone-free.
Just remember, whenever your hands and nails become dried out, moisturize!
If you keep in mind that your cuticles are important, and care for your hands (especially when we’re using so much hand sanitizer), you’ll have healthy cuticles that aren’t at risk of infection.
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I bought this mascara after seeing a post about it on Facebook. I love trying out new mascaras but rarely do I find one that I will use regularly like my beloved tarte - Maneater Mascara However this stuff is good. MAYBELLINE - Lash Sensational Sky High Waterproof Mascara It gave my lashes so much volume & length they literally doubled in size! My lashes are already pretty long to begin with but this made them look amazing. The photo is after applying only one coat so I can only imagine how good they will look after two or three coats! It also didn’t clump up my lashes at all. I applied it really quickly & lazily too because I was in a rush to get ready & I was still amazed! I honestly think this is going to be my new daily mascara. It is waterproof but not the annoying kind that leaves your eyes completely black when you go to take it off. It came off really easily with my POND'S - Facial Moisturizers Dry Skin Cream which is what I’ve always used to remove my eye makeup, since I was a kid! @cherie@Cheriebeauty@CheriePick
HOLY GRAIL SPF 🌞🌞🌞
Okay guys as I have said before I am guilty of rarely ever wearing sunscreen. I just never liked the feel of it on my skin. I always felt like it made me greasy & clogged my pores. However, once I heard about this product I was very intrigued. NIOD - Survival 30 It actually isn’t sold in the United States for some reason so I had to purchase it on a UK website. (Beauty Bay) It is an antioxidant serum with SPF 30. At first, it appears to be tinted but it’s actually not. On NIOD’s website they state: “The slight tinted appearance is derived from the active technologies including Lutein, Fractionated Melanin and Pycnogenol.” It blends in with your skin so easily & does not leave a white cast like some other SPF products. However this serum literally makes my skin tone soo even & perfect! It also contains silicone so it completely smooths over my pores. AND besides all that great stuff, it’s a mineral sunscreen! So it protects against environmental & lifestyle issues. Like UV rays, blue light, etc. I have never loved a product as much as this one! I literally cannot believe how good my skin looks while using this stuff! For a 30ml bottle, I paid $33 on the Beauty Bay site. For me, that is completely worth it! It comes in this adorable packaging & pretty glass bottle. It also has a pump dispenser & squirts out the perfect amount for a single use! I really can’t recommend this stuff enough guys! It’s wonderful!! @cherie@Cheriebeauty@CheriePick
Stay Young Forever? ✨
That’d be great right? Well in taking those steps, I definitely recommend these amazing serums. I was gifted the: Intoxicated Cosmetics: Snake Serum Bee Serum Snail Serum I started using the Snail Serum last night first and wow did I notice a difference. The Snail Serum mainly targets dryness. I used this in place of my usual night time serum and boy did I notice a difference. I N G R E D I E N T S : All Serums contain: ✨Niacinamide Bee Serum: Bee Venom Plant Based Stem Cells Royal Epigen Snake Serum Snake Venom Green & White Tea Extract Peptides Snail Serum Snail Peptide Hyadisine Echinacea Moronga Oil Extract I definitely will try the other serums in my routine as I get used to the Snail Serum but so far my skin is definitely happy. What serum would you like to try?
Drink of water for your skin!
We’re in the deep of winter and our skin get dehydrated and beaten by the harsh elements. Treat your skin to a pure drink of water that is based with pure Artic water —The ultra pure water that flows from the Arctic is known for its unique functional composition that’s buzzed about for helping to recharge dull-looking skin. By adding moisture back in helps fortify your skin and enhances skins’ luminosity. LUMENE - Nordic-C Glow Boost Essence Serum 30ml $12-$25 depends on size and retail. Based with pure artic spring water and two types o hyaluronic acids this serum is super emollient and hydrating. Love love love how gentle this formula is. LUMENE - Nordic C Valo Glow Lumenessence Brightening Beauty Lotion $14-$18 A gorgeous lightweight toning essence with pure artic water, hyaluronic acids and vitamin c rich berry complex. I love that it is gentle and not drying. 🐰 cruelty free and sustainably sourced
DISAPPOINTED BY THESE 100% NATURAL PRODUCTS 😩
I was so excited to try these out because I love moisturizers & I am always in search of a good one! These looked & sounded very promising! They’re from a woman owned company, completely natural, vegan, & cruelty free! However, I was quite disappointed. EARTH HARBOR - MERMAID MILK Nutrient Glow Moisturizer This moisturizer claims to give you a glow right away & it contains spirulina + matcha. I was excited about the matcha because it has so many amazing benefits for skin. It has a very whipped consistency which I like. However it always contains essential oils that were strong, although not toooo strong for my liking. But I’m really just not a fan of essential oils in my face creams. The moisturizer did make my skin appear a little brighter but the cream just sat on my face. All day long I could touch my face & still feel the cream sitting there! I hate that feeling! It also almost gave me a greasy appearance after a while? Not a fan. EARTH HARBOR - SIREN SILK Multi-Tasking Hydration Creme This one was absolutely awful. If I could give it 0 stars I would. It says to use it at night time & the apply it at least 5 minutes before bed so it can absorb on your face & not your pillow. It contains Sea Retinol + other Superherbs which normally make me love a product! But that just wasn’t enough here. First, when I put it on my face my eyes started to actually burn & I felt suffocated from the scent. It was THAT strong. Guys, I’m not being dramatic at all. The smell like attacked me it was crazy! I have never had something like that happen with a face cream! I couldn’t believe how strong the fragrance was. & to top it off, it wasn’t even a pretty smell. My husband described it as smelling like floor cleaner. But I powered through. The longer I had it on, the more “used” to the smell I got. So, I wore it overnight. But then I woke up even more upset with it! I had pilling all over my face. It almost looked like my face was peeling but it wasn’t, it was jus the cream. One thing I cannot stand about a moisturizer is pulling. That’s enough for me to throw it out! It also didn’t really even moisturize my face that well! All in all, I hated this experience. But if you want, you should try them out for yourself, don’t let my experience deter you from trying something new! I however, will be sticking with my Youth To The People Dream Mask & Superfood Whipped Moisturizer! Love those two!! YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE - Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE - Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream 💗💗💗 @cherie@Cheriebeauty@CheriePick
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