Parts Of The Cuticle And How To Take Care Of Them

Last Updated on February 17, 2021
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written by nail expert Jess Rowley

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Everything You Need To Know About Different Parts Of The Cuticle:

We all now probably know how to trim and paint our nails as a result of not being able to go to your local salon but how about caring for your cuticle?

If you’re not sure, or even sure even where the cuticle is there’s no need to panic– you’re not alone.

I have broken down all the confusing features, looking at what the cuticle is and the best way to care for it, to get the most out of your at-home-manicures.

Caring for your cuticle can be a Herculean effort sometimes but it will transform your nails to the point that you won’t believe the difference between a home and salon manicure.

You’ll be wishing you did it sooner!

Stepping up your cuticle care game will not only transform your manicures but also improve the overall health of your nails– it’s a win-win really!

Plus to make things easier for you I have looked at everything you need to know about nail autonomy plus the safest ways to care for the cuticle in this step-by-step guide.

So let’s get into it, so we can ace that next manicure like a boss!

parts of the cuticle

Firstly, what is a nail cuticle? 

You are most definitely here to know how to treat your cuticle but let’s get down to the basics, what is the cuticle and where is it on our nail?

The cuticle is a small area of living tissue below the eponychium and it creates nail cells. It is protected by the eponychium– whose main job is to protect the nail matrix from infection.

The cuticle protects the new nail from bacteria as it grows from the root.

You can actually push back the eponychium before a manicure to expose or remove the cuticle, don’t place any tools underneath the cuticle as this can lead to infection.

Now:

We often confuse the cuticle with the eponychium, it’s all good to push back and cut off the dead skin of your cuticle when it gets too long,  but the last thing we want is to cut the eponychium!

The specific function is to protect the cuticle and nail from bacteria, if you cut it, there is a higher risk of infection, not to mention how painful it can be.

This is the last thing we want, so here’s how to carefully care for your cuticle without damaging your eponychium!

Step by step guide to looking after your cuticle:

Here are the best ways to look after your cuticle at home so you can boss out the best manicures.

Step One- Get yourself a good cuticle remover:

The first step you want to do is trim and file your nails to your preferred shape, you then want to moisten the cuticle with a cuticle area to gently remove the cuticle of the nail plate. This allows you to work out how to trim or push back the cuticle.

I would recommend trying Deborah Lippmann’s Cuticle Remover or Butter London as they both gently exfoliates and dissolves dead skin cells around your nails to look after your cuticles.

Step Two- Push the cuticle back gently:

Get yourself a metal cuticle pusher and trimmer to carefully push the cuticle to the end of your nail. Then wash your hands to wash off the cuticle remover and trim whatever is hanging. Only trim the hangnails and that’s it.

Step Three- Apply cuticle oil

After you have completed the first two steps it is crucial to renourish your nails with some cuticle oil. This will keep nails and cuticles healthy, which is the key to a good manicure.

I cannot recommend Cuccio Natural Revitalizing Oil as it uses milk and honey and rich oils to restore moisture while protecting and nourishing dry brittle cuticles. It is essential for a healthy manicure. 

Another natural cuticle oil that I love is Bee Natural Best Cuticle Oil it is enriched with Vitamin E which revitalizes, strengthens, and nourishes cuticles. 

Tea tree oil is also an excellent way to nourish cuticles, if you don’t have any cuticle oil you can give tea tree oil a try! 

Step Four- Apply sunscreen to those pretty hands

You may not believe me when I tell you this but applying sunscreen is actually really important for healthy cuticles. The eponychium is just as vulnerable to being burnt to the rest of your skin. 

cuticle care

Pros and cons of cuticle removers:

Cuticle removers are loved by some and found unnecessary to others. Cuticle removers have hydroxide, sodium hydroxide or potassium, and humectants which allow for you to gently remove the cuticle.

After pushing them back and washing your hands, it should expose any hanging dead skin which is okay to cut off. This massively reduces the chance of damaging the eponychium or any other part of the nail.

Despite many benefits of using a cuticle, there can be some complications such as softening the nail plate too much and too much nail cuticle is removed.

There is also the possibility of paronychia and other bacterial infections to occur as a result of using cuticle remover– this is very rare though.

I would definitely still recommend using cuticle oil, especially if you fairly new to removing the cuticle as it makes the job much easier, plus it reduces the chance of damage to the nail.

The only thing I would recommend is doing a spot test first to reduce the chance of allergic reactions.

Is it safe to cut your cuticles?

Cutting your cuticles is an ongoing debate from many professionals, but I would advise to never cut your cuticles.

Cuticles protect your nails and skin from bacterial infections, if you cut them it makes your nails more prone to infections as it’s easier for bacteria and germs to get inside.

However, some say that it helps make nail polish go on better and last longer.

Instead of cutting them you can push back the cuticle and trim the hangnails– this will give the same effect without having to actually cut the cuticle.

Cracked or peeling cuticles:

Our nail beds are really delicate and you will find that cracked or peeling cuticles are very common.

The best way to help with this is to keep your nails hydrated. Using a good cuticle oil or moisturizer will really help to prevent damaged cuticles while applying them every day is really good for your nails.

How can I prevent cuticle damage?

The best way to keep your cuticle healthy is to keep it nourished and prevent picking at your cuticle.

If you have a hangnail, resist the urge to rip, bite or tear it off– I know this can be tricky. Instead, gently remove it with tweezers or clippers.

Switch out your harsh nail polishes and removers for a more gentle one. For example an acetone-free remover or 10-free nail polish.

I can recommend Ella and Mila or Zoya— they are excellent formulas that won’t damage your cuticle.

How to help infected nails:

We have already talked about Paronychia, but what is it?

Paronychia is the infection of the skin around your cuticles, it causes redness of the skin around the nail, causes tenderness and blisters. The color, shape, and texture can also change as a result and in some cases even cause nail detachment.

If the case is mild it can be quite easy to treat at home by soaking in warm water a couple of times a day and it should go away after a few days.

If you feel that is more severe then the doctor can prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal medication to cure the infection.

How to care for your cuticles and how to keep them healthy: 

The best way to keep the cuticle and your nails healthy:

– Make sure you regularly trim your nails.

– Smooth out rough edges with a file.

– Moisturize and nourish cuticles with cuticle oil.

– Apply nail hardener regularly to strengthen nails.

– Use 10-free nail polish, to prevent overexposure to chemicals.

– Try not to bite your nails.

– Take biotin supplements to strengthen your nails.

Summary:

Cuticles actually do a lot more than you may originally think and that’s why it is so important to keep them healthy– they are crucial to protect your nails from infection.

The top tip from today is if you go to the nail salon, make sure to choose one where they properly sanitize their tools and don’t cut the cuticle.

Removing your cuticle, gently and in the right way will maintain the health of your nail while transforming your manicures.

Pairing this with healthy nail polish, cuticle oil and remover will improve the health and quality of the manicure overall.

You will love the results of doing this.

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