Guide to Cuticle Care: The Cuticle Care Routine You Have to Know

At Home Cuticle Care: Assembly of the Ultimate Guide to Cuticle Care. Must Know Tips for Home Cuticle Care Routine.

Your cuticles are a line of defense against all manner of infections; these small nail parts should be cared for regularly, and like every self-care regimen, there are certain things you need to know about cuticle care. The following guide to cuticle care will provide you with information about your cuticles, and how to best care for them and your nails.

Cuticle structure and nail structure

While they are small body parts, your fingernails and toenails are complex organs. The following diagram shows the cuticle structure and nail structure, and if you are unfamiliar with it – here is how your nail is built:

nail structure
As you can see, the nails have several parts, each of which has a special role:

Nail matrix: an area of living tissue below the eponychium. The nail matrix is where new nail cells are created, so it has a vital part of nail health. This part contains blood vessels, nerves, and lymph, making it a living, breathing part of the nail. The cells that the matrix produces become the nail, and the matrix determines the thickness, length, and size of the nails, as well as the shape of the nail.

Lununa: meaning "small moon", the Lununa is the visible part of the matrix, and it is crescent-shaped at the base of the nail.

Nail bed: the skin underneath the nail plate that consists of two forms of tissue: an epidermis layer (the layer just under the nail plate), and a dermis layer (living tissue that is made up of glands and capillaries).  

Eponychium: protects the nail matrix from infections; it is an area of living skin cells that acts as a border against infections and is located at the nail plate base.

Cuticle: unlike the Eponychium, the cuticle is not made of living cells; it is a non-living tissue located on the underside of the Eponychium.  

Paronychium: a soft tissue that borders the edges of the nail and protects it.

Hyponychium: an area of epithelium (densely packed cells) that lies underneath the free edge of the nail's plate.

The importance of cuticle care

Caring for your nails will make them look shiny, healthy, and strong. At the base of proper nail care is cuticle care; the cuticles are a line of defense for the tissue that grows new cells that build your nails. Your nails never stop growing, which is why it is important to protect their grown layer, as well as new, budding nail cells.

When the cuticle is damaged, your nails, as well as your skin and fingers, are exposed to infections. The nails are made of the Keratin protein that needs to be protected during nail formation. When cuticles are exposed, the nails that grow are not healthy, and they tend to soften, weaken, and break.

If an infection sets in, it can be very difficult to heal the nails – especially with fungal infections. That is why cuticle care is vital, and why you should have an at-home cuticle care routine.

Cuticle damage: types of nail damage and cuticle damage

Overgrown cuticles

While not that common, overgrown cuticles are a sign of bigger issues; if your cuticles grow beyond the proximal fold, it could be a sign of Eczema, Psoriasis, and other systemic issues. If you notice that your cuticles are longer than they should be, or that they are flaky – it could be due to underlying health issues.

cuticle damage

Nail bed and cuticle laceration

This is a more common issue, frequently caused by cuts. If a nail bed laceration reaches the cuticles, it makes them more vulnerable. An exposed cuticle could get infected, causing nail deformations or extended infections.

damaged cuticle

Cuticle infection (paronychia)

This type of nail infection causes inflammation around the nail and the cuticle. Paronychia is caused to infection in the nail area, including the cuticle. The result is swelling, pain, and tenderness in the nail area. There are two types of paronychia:

* Acute paronychia: an infection that appears over several hours or several days. This acute infection appears only in the nail fold, and it does not go deeper. Acute paronychia lasts six weeks or less, and the treatment is adjusted to this time period.

* Chronic paronychia: symptoms of chronic paronychia develop at a slower pace, compared to acute paronychia. This condition can lead to an infection in one finger or several fingers. It can last six weeks or more and may be accompanied by a fungal infection, most commonly a candida infection.


Nail fungus

An infection that is caused by a fungal microbe. A fungal infection can be very difficult to treat. During such an infection, fingernails and toenails become thickened, discolored, and disfigured. Nails are also more sensitive to splitting and breaking when they are infected by fungus.

cuticle infection

What causes cuticle damage?

Cuticle damage can be caused by several factors:

Frequent exposure to water

Washing your hands is vital to your overall health. However, overdoing doing it can do more harm than good; if you frequently wash your hands, the water (especially warm water) can strip away natural oils from your nails. As a result, your cuticle may get cracked and exposed to infectants.

Exposure to irritants

Aside from water, your cuticles and nails can also be damaged due to exposure to irritants. Chemicals, detergents, drying substances (like hand sanitizers), and other materials can damage cuticles, and lead to various infections.

what causes cuticle damage

Cuts and bruises

Knife cuts, paper cuts, blunt injuries, etc. can lead to various nail infections. When your cuticles or skin are broken by cuts and bruises, infectants can enter and cause additional problems.

Unbalanced diet

As we mentioned, a fungal paronychia infection can be caused due to candida. If you frequently consume refined carbohydrates, you are likely to develop fungal infections throughout your body – including your nails and cuticles.

Medical issues

Certain medical conditions, like anemia, thyroid problems, diabetes, consumption of prescription drugs, etc. are also causes for cuticle damage. Such conditions throw the body out of balance, leading to certain health issues, like nail damage.

How to treat damaged cuticles

An at home cuticle care routine can make your nails and cuticles healthy and strong. To get these results, here is what you need to do:

Prevent cuticle damage

The best way to treat health issues is to prevent them; when it comes to cuticle health and nail health, you should avoid certain things: cutting your cuticles, pushing cuticles back, washing hands often, etc. should be avoided. You can wear gloves when doing chores, and it is best to leave advanced nail care to a professional nail technician.

Nourish your nails

To get strong and healthy nails, you should care for them from the beginning; use a cuticle conditioner that contains natural, healthy oils, as well as minerals and vitamins. Cuticle oil will leave your cuticles healthy, and it is a must. You can also incorporate hand cream to prevent dry skin and chipping.

cuticle oil

Treat cuticle damage in time

If you notice an infection or a cut on your fingers and cuticles, don't ignore it; you should disinfect cuts, and bandage your fingers to prevent more problems. Also, if you suffer from a cuticle infection that won't go away – see your physician. In some cases, infections should be treated with topical antibiotics or anti-fungal products. Your doctor will be able to give you the most suitable treatment for your issues, and to do so – he/she needs to check you.

Go to your physician

Nail damage and cuticle damage can be a sign of deeper health issues; anemia, diabetes, thyroid issues, and other problems. If you suffer from chronic nail splitting/other nail damage, you could have an underlying medical issue, such as dietary insufficiencies. Whatever the problem may be, you must see your doctor to treat your nails, and whatever conditions that have caused cuticle damage and nail weakening.

Only use clean nail care tools

Cuticle care and nail care tools should be kept clean at all times. If you have an at-home manicure kit, make sure to disinfect tools that are not disposable. You can also use disposable tools, and throw them out after use. If you go to a nail salon, make sure it is certified. Also, make sure the tools that are being used on you are clean and disinfected.

Bottom line

Cuticle damage is a very common condition; it can be caused by several factors, and can also be treated when necessary. Sticking to a healthy cuticle care and nail care routine will leave your nails shiny and strong, and it will prevent further problems.

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