Nails get all the attention these days. Whether it’s information about proper cutting techniques, homemade soaks on Pinterest, or minimalist designs from Butter London that we saw at New York Fashion Week 2014—there’s no denying that these parts of your feet and hands are hogging the spotlight. Behind the scenes, we know that caring for cuticles is the only reason nails get the limelight in the first place.
Cuticles protect your nail matrix from getting infected, so they deserve a lot of credit. You can care for them by keeping them moisturized. You can even apply petroleum jelly at night for some deep conditioning. Also, refrain from using nail polish remover with acetone at home and at the salon.
When you give yourself a pedicure or go to get your toenails done, use a rubber cuticle pusher or ask the pedicurist to gently push the cuticles back with an orange stick. Don’t push too hard or jam them into your toenails. That’s almost as bad as cutting them. Which brings us to our next point.
Don’t ever cut your cuticles. They’re the part of your nail that provides a barrier against infection. If you’re cuticle isn’t there, bacteria and fungus can easily enter your system and create redness, swelling, pain, and even pus- and fluid-filled blisters. Your nail also may change in shape, color, and structure. Once this happens, it’s not something you’ll be able to cover up with a pretty polish.
If you have a fungal or bacterial infection, you’re going to have to start caring for cuticles more closely by soaking your nail in a bath of hot water two to three times a day. If the condition gets worse, call Richardson Podiatry Center at (972) 690-5374 or visit our website to make an appointment with Dr. Gene Reister. He can recommend topical antifungals that will take care of the problem.