How to look after your cuticles
JC News|Feb. 28, 2019
A regular manicure is a staple part of many of our beauty routines. But sometimes a visit to the nail salon can do more harm than good. If you’re experiencing ridged nails, discolouration or nails that break easily, it could be due to how you’re handling your cuticles.“The white half-moon at the base of your fingernail is actually part of a full-moon, half of which is beneath the cuticle skin,” Lynn Gray, Swiss nail care and colour brand Mavala’s national nail health expert, tells us. “This full-moon is called the ‘nail matrix’ which acts like the brain of the nail, controlling the health of the nail that then grows through.”As the most sensitive part of the whole nail structure it can easily be damaged with typical manicure steps. So you need to take good care of it.Stop cutting your cuticlesCuticles don’t need to be cut. “The part that people cut is actually not the true cuticle but the eponychium or proximal fold,” explains Lynn. “The eponychium is the slightly thicker skin around the base of the nail – it’s there for a very good reason and should never be removed,” she explains.Cutting it leaves you unprotected from bacteria and infections. Plus if you do cut this skin the body reacts by sending even more skin cells to the area, making the problem worse.Don’t push back the cuticlePeople typically push the cuticle back, but if you apply too much pressure and are rough in this area you can damage the nail matrix causing white spots and ridges which may weaken the nails as they grow.“The true cuticle that does need to be removed is the small, scaly area of dead skin cells that are stuck to the nail plate,” adds Lynn. “These need to be removed to give a clean cosmetic look to the nails, help prevent hangnails and help the growth of the natural nail.”Use a cuticle removerYou can remove the cuticle without pushing it back by using a liquid cuticle remover like Mavala’s Cuticle Remover or Butter London’s Cuticle Exfoliator.“The potassium hydroxide in the product dissolves away that dead skin without the need of pushing the delicate area around the lunar (half-moon) and nail matrix where the nails are still slightly soft and forming,” advises Lynn.Apply cuticle oil at bedtime“If you do have really dry skin around the base of the nail then you should be using a cuticle oil or Mavala’s Cuticle Cream, preferably in the evening before bed so it can work overnight while your body regenerates,” the nail expert advises. “The massage movement will also help stimulate the blood and nutrients to the area thus helping to improve the growth and health.”Try Ciate London Beautiful Cuticles, a handy pen style cuticle helper, which contains Marula Oil and Vitamin E for hydrated healthy-looking cuticles in an instant. Or Tropic Organic Nail Nectar, a nourishing nail oil with passion flower and almond oil, to strengthen and repair brittle nails and cuticles.