Cuticles are essential parts of the nail structure that serve as a protective barrier against bacteria and infection, guarding the nail matrix where nail growth occurs. They help maintain the health and strength of the nails by sealing the area where the nail meets the skin.
Damaged or poorly maintained cuticles can lead to infections, inflammation, or other nail disorders, which may impair the appearance and integrity of the nails. Therefore, caring for the cuticles through gentle pushing, moisturizing, and avoiding cutting ensures that they continue to perform their protective function.
The French know that cuticle care is an important part of maintaining healthy nails and hands. This care contributes to the overall soundness of the nails, supporting both their aesthetic appeal and physical well-being. Here are some detailed tips to help you take care of your cuticles like the French.
Avoid Cutting Cuticles
It’s common to think that cutting cuticles is necessary, but it can lead to infections and other problems. The cuticle’s purpose is to protect the nail matrix, so you should avoid cutting them.
Soften Cuticles Regularly
You can soften your cuticles by soaking your fingers in warm water mixed with a gentle soap for a few minutes. This helps to loosen the cuticles and makes them easier to manage. Use a nail care cream like the Dior Crème Abricot to keep your nail bed soft and promote a healthy environment for cuticles to thrive.
Use a Cuticle Pusher
Instead of cutting, use a cuticle pusher or an orange stick to gently push back the cuticles. Always do this after softening them to prevent tearing.
Cuticles can become dry and cracked, leading to unsightly appearances and discomfort. Using a cuticle oil or a hand cream enriched with vitamins like Vitamin E can keep the cuticles moisturized. Apply it at least once a day or as needed. The L’Occitane Shea Nourishing Nail & Cuticle Oil is great for this.
Be Gentle with Your Cuticles
Don’t pick at or pull on your cuticles, as this can lead to tearing and infections. Always handle them with care.
Wear Gloves During Housework
Exposure to harsh chemicals and prolonged immersion in water can be harmful to your cuticles. Wearing gloves while doing dishes or cleaning can help protect them.
Opt for Professional Help if Needed
If you have chronic issues with your cuticles or aren’t sure how to care for them, it might be a good idea to seek professional help from a manicurist who can offer specialized care.
Avoid Nail Hardeners and Harsh Chemicals
Some nail care products contain harsh chemicals that can be damaging to the cuticles. Always read the labels and choose products that are gentle and free of harmful substances.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Nutrients play a vital role in nail and cuticle health. A balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids can promote healthy cuticles.
Drinking enough water helps keep the skin, including cuticles, supple and healthy. Make sure to drink the recommended daily amount of water to keep your cuticles in good shape.
The skin around the nails can be sensitive to UV rays. Applying sunscreen to your hands, including the cuticle area, can prevent potential damage from the sun.
Avoid Overuse of Nail Polish Remover
Some nail polish removers can be drying to the nails and cuticles. Limiting their use and opting for acetone-free varieties can help in maintaining healthy cuticles.