What Are Cuticles?
If you look at your nails, you will see that they are clearly made up of several different sections. At the base of each nail, you will see the whitish crescent known as the lunula. Below that is the cuticle – the small patch of skin that overlaps part of the lunula and creates a barrier between your nails themselves and the skin that surrounds them. This barrier is actually very important as it keeps bacteria and other microorganisms from getting into the base of your nail and causing an infection. The most common nail infections usually begin at the cuticle and then grow into the rest of your nail, but they can be easily prevented. Healthy cuticles beget healthy nails, which is why it's wise to put the time and effort into taking care of these small patches of skin.
Proper Cuticle Care
Taking the time to care for your cuticles should be part of every manicure and
you give yourselfâ€”though it tends to be more of an important task in manicures specifically. You will be able to tell by looking at your nails whether your cuticles are healthy or need some work. Dry, ragged cuticles tend to be a bad sign, so your first step will be to moisturize them with a product specifically designed to nourish and soften this small area of skin. In addition to targeting your cuticles specifically each time you treat your nails, you can also help keep them from drying out over time by rubbing any excess hand lotion onto these scraps of skin whenever you apply moisturizer.
After you have softened your cuticles, you can push them back using a tool specifically designed to help do so. Cuticles that are gently pushed back are still able to prevent infections because they remain connected in the areas where it is important, but they tend to appear healthier and may make you happier with the look of your nails.
Depending who you ask, you will likely hear several different opinions about whether or not you should cut away your excess cuticle skin. Most professional manicurists do tend to clip cuticles as a way of making your nails look as blemish-free as possible, but doctors warn against this practice. Since cuticles are important to keeping out germs, cutting them too close may make you more prone to infection. Clipped cuticles also tend to regrow harder and be more susceptible to cracking. Put simply, if you insist on cutting cuticles, you should try to do so without removing all the skin and just target any excess in order to keep your nails as healthy as possible.
By taking good care of your cuticles, you increase the chances of maintaining healthy nails throughout your life. Browse the selection of cuticle treatments available from drugstore.com to find everything you need.
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