Updated: Oct 9, 2022
You may have been browsing the Internet, looking for nail care suggestions or manicure techniques. If so, you probably came across the word, cuticle, quite a bit. The cuticle is a layer of clear skin located at the base of your fingernail or toenail, where the nail meets the edge of your skin. This area is called the nail bed, and the cuticle lays on it to protect the newly grown parts of the nail from outside invaders. Just like your skin is the first line of defense against bacteria and other germs, your cuticles are the defense line for your nail bed.
Because of their importance, most health professionals advise people to leave their cuticles alone. However, cuticles are often pushed back or trimmed during manicures to make the nail shape look more attractive and make the polish stick better. While it’s best never to damage your cuticles, pushing them back would probably be better than cutting them off if you must do it. When pushing your cuticles back, make sure they are softened. Use cuticle remover and gently push your cuticles towards your nail bed using a cuticle pusher. Do not go beyond the line where your nail meets your finger. Trim only excess skin (like hangnails). Ensure any tools you use are clean.
For the best care of your cuticles, make sure to keep your cuticles clean and moisturized; wash your hands with warm soapy water. Dry and cracking cuticles are quite irritating, so you can use cuticle oil or hand cream to moisturize your cuticles. Limiting the use of acetone-based nail polish removers can help avoid cuticle dryness. Try not to bite your nails or pick at your nails. If a hangnail appears, carefully remove it with tweezers rather than pulling or biting it off.