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How much thought do you give your cuticles? Probably not much – they tend to be overlooked in most health and beauty routines. But dry cuticles lead to hangnails, and poorly maintained cuticles can actually impede nail growth.
Avoid problems by keeping those cuticles healthy – here are 5 tips for cuticle maintenance:
1. Check The Ingredients
Certain ingredients found in your nail products are actually drying to both nail and cuticle. Many nail polish removers contain acetone, and other nail products can contain formaldehyde; both chemicals can cause irritation to the cuticles.
You’ll be better off using an acetone-free polish remover, especially if you use acrylic nails. And make sure that you’ve safely disposed of any nail products made before 2007, as they likely have formaldehyde in them.
2. No More Cutting
You should never cut your cuticles; they do exist for a reason! Cuticles protect the root of the nail from infection. Cutting them is opening a door to bacteria that can have some nasty effects. Cut cuticles also grow back ragged and ugly. Instead of cutting, you should…
3. Push Your Cuticles Back
The best way to keep your cuticles neat looking is to push them back. Use an orange wood stick (you can pick them up in most drug stores) and a bit of cotton ball to gently push the cuticle toward the base of the nail bed.
You may find it hard to do, or even painful. That’s because the cuticle gets very stiff when it’s dry. Ever wondered why they always soak your hands at the salon before starting? It’s to soften the cuticle!
You can soak them yourself at home, in a small dish of warm water. Or just wait and do it right after you get out of the shower – it just takes a minute, then you’re done.
4. Oil Treatment
If you really want to get your cuticles in shape, you’ll need to give them an oil treatment. Oil helps prevent the cuticle from sticking to the nail so you have a smoother base for applying polish. But oil treatments also help to moisturize the cuticle so it doesn’t get dried and cracked; remember, cracked cuticle won’t be able to keep bacteria out and could lead to infection.
You can purchase cuticle oils, or make your own at home with olive oil, jojoba oil, or almond oil; add your favorite essential oils as well. Apply a tiny drop, then massage into the cuticle and surrounding skin.
Apart from oil treatments, you should be moisturizing your hands every day. Keeping the entire hand hydrated is a great way to provide a healthy environment for the cuticle and nail.
Keep a bottle of moisturizer next to your workplace, or beside your kitchen sink, and apply at least once or twice a day to keep you skin soft and your cuticles healthy.
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