Women focus a lot on their fingernails, but we tend to forget about another very important part of the nail: the cuticle. Many of us have beautiful, downright gorgeous fingernails, but the cuticles are dry, cracked, or possibly even bleeding. Not only is this unsightly, but it’s also a major health concern.
What is the Nail Cuticle?
If you take a look at your finger nail, you will notice a very thin tissue that is growing out from the skin touching your finger and is overlapping the nail plate. A sort of rim is then formed around the base of the nail. This skin is meant to be protective in nature. If it weren’t for the nail cuticle, our nails and nail beds would be chronically infected from the debris and microorganisms that are in our environment.
When nail cuticles are dry, chipped, or cracked bleeding, they are not nearly as protective as if they were to be healthy and moist. Bleeding cuticles particularly leave open the possibility to the nail bed becoming infected, or the cuticle may become inflamed and infected.
How can I Soften my Cuticles?
If you notice that your cuticles are becoming dry and damaged, it’s time to give them a bit of TLC. There are a lot of cuticle softening products out on the market, but you can also easily make your very own effective cuticle softening treatment at home. All you will need to make this is:
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 Cups of whole milk
- 3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- Baby oil
- Cuticle stick
To start, take olive oil and combine it with the milk. Heat it up on the stove or in the microwave until it is heated through (take care not to burn yourself!). Dip your fingertips into the milk and olive oil when it is at a nice, warm temperature, and relax for 5 minutes. Once the time has elapsed, remove your hands and pat them dry. Take the baby oil and add a few drops to the cuticles, and then gently push them back with a cuticle stick. Any excess oil can be removed with the lemon juice.
How to Prevent Future Damage to the Cuticles
What we do every day can not only damage our nails, but it can also damage our cuticles. The same sort of precautions should be made for the cuticles as you make for the nails. For example, detergents and other cleaning products we use every day are incredibly drying and damaging to the cuticles. Throw on a pair of gloves whenever you are coming in contact with any cleaning products.
Try to also keep your nails at a length where there won’t be a lot of impact (i.e. when you type on a keyboard, your fingernails should not be “clack-clack-clacking” on the keys). Lastly, when ever giving yourself a manicure (or having one done) never EVER opt to have your cuticles cut. This is the worst way to treat them and only leaves them open to infection. Protect and moisturize your hands and cuticles regularly and you will notice a difference in the quality of your hands.