Nail Care 101: Cuticles and How to Maintain Them
If you’re new to nail care, your cuticles should be one of your first areas of focus!
When it comes to nail care and salon and at-home manicures, the nail plate—the part of the nail that you paint—gets all the attention. However, if you want your nails to grow long, strong, and resilient, it’s important to care for your cuticles as well. So, what are cuticles? And how should you make sure you’re taking care of them? Read on for a brief explainer on cuticles, their care, and some products and techniques to look out for when maintaining them.
What Are Cuticles?
The cuticle is the layer of skin around your nails on both your hands and feet. Despite this area of your nail not being as glamorous as your paintable nail plate, it’s still very important to your skin and nail health. The cuticle’s function is to protect your nails as they grow from the root and ensure they stay free from bacteria and infection. However, cuticles can get infected themselves, and can also become dry or cracked, so it’s key that you take care of them properly.
Why Cuticle Care is Important
As we mentioned, your cuticle is an important barrier against infection and other issues pertaining to new nail growth, so it’s best to keep it healthy. Your cuticles themselves can also become infected if you do not properly clean them with frequency. If your cuticles get cut or torn, it becomes easier for them to get infected. This is why—though it is debated by some—it is best to push your cuticles back rather than trim them at home. If you are to trim your cuticles, it’s best to see a professional nail technician or manicurist.
Products to Help Maintain Cuticles
There are numerous products that can help you maintain your cuticles. Chief among them are cuticle oils and serums. A high-quality cuticle oil will give you the best results in moisturizing and maintaining your cuticles’ strength. A hydrated cuticle is a happy cuticle! The ENL Cuticle Oil is a great, affordable option for an oil to help maintain this hydration. It’s best to apply cuticle oil after doing dishes, washing your hands, showering, and any other time when your hands and nails may have gotten wet, as water can dry out your skin. Some also recommend following up your cuticle oil with a thick, occlusive cuticle balm or cream to lock in moisture.
Other Important Methods of Cuticle Care
Aside from using hydrated products and pushing back or professionally trimming your cuticles, there are other methods of cuticle care for you to consider. One is to generally avoid drying out your cuticle. So, try to take shorter showers, use hand lotion or oil right after washing your hands, and try to avoid excessive water contact with your hands. A major tip in this department is to always wear gloves when washing the dishes or doing other housework to protect your nail and cuticle.