The contents of Zamberg.com education section provides only general concepts of hygiene and product usage and should not in any event be considered as specific medical recommendation for self-treatment. The information is being provided only as reference and in no way should be taken as instructions for self-diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for a licensed physician's proper medical advice, diagnosis and/or treatment. Customers should always consult a physician or another licensed medical practitioner for specific treatment instructions and before beginning using any treatment or hygiene regimen. If at any time customers have any treatment questions or experience any discomfort or pain with their personal hygiene practices we recommend that they consult a physician for assessment and treatment.




Although often neglected, cuticles play an important role in maintaining the health of the nails. Unlike the nails that can be shaped and painted to make our fingers more aesthetically pleasing, cuticles only seem to cause problems like hangnails. In reality, cuticles are the barriers that protect the skin on the fingers from dirt and infections. However, if you don't take proper care of cuticles they become dry, fragile and easily damaged. Besides causing pain and discomfort, this could create a tear that would allow dirt and bacteria to get under the skin. That is why it's important to incorporate these easy and quick cuticle-grooming tasks into your hygiene.

DRYNESS

One of the biggest problems cuticles face is dryness. Dryness causes hangnails, which are dry pieces of cuticle that appear on the sides of the nails and cause discomfort. To prevent hangnails, massage cuticle oil or a moisturizing hand cream or lotion into the cuticle on regular basis. It is not enough to just apply hand cream to your hands; to achieve the necessary results you need to specifically apply and massage it into the cuticles. Small and convenient sticks of cuticle moisturizing cream are very handy to take along in your handbag. Dryness also often causes cuticles to tear and peel the skin around the nail. Sometimes the cause of the dryness is not lack of care, but rather too much grooming. If you use nail polish and other lacquers more often than once a week, it could dry the cuticles out as well. If you have symptoms of dryness around the cuticles, perhaps you should give them a much-needed rest.

GROOMING VS. CUTTING

Another problem occurs when cuticles are cut off during a manicure or if people bite or pull them off through nervousness or carelessness. Beside damaging or removing this important protective barrier, cutting live cuticles will make the skin around the nails dry up and peel. It also makes the fingers vulnerable to serious infections. Cuticles are constantly growing and besides moisturizing them, they need to be groomed as well. Use a gentle approach at all times. A cuticle remover and an orange (cuticle) stick are necessary tools. A cuticle remover is specifically made to soften cuticles so they can be gently pushed back. After applying the cuticle remover, hold the orange stick at an angle and push the cuticles back. Make sure not to apply too much force. After you're done, remove any dead cuticle skin that flaked off. If you still have hangnails you may cut them off with a cuticle nipper that is specifically made for that purpose, making sure not to cut too far or too deep. Never bite or rip out hangnails; you'll cause damage. Always make sure that the instruments you use are clean, sterilized and sharp enough to do the job.
Here are two recipes for making cuticle softeners:
  • Olive Oil Softener
    A small amount of warmed up olive oil can be massaged into the cuticle before using an orange stick. Olive oil is an excellent moisturizer. The temperature of the oil shouldn't be too hot, but warm oil will have better results.
  • Eucalyptus and Jojoba Oil Softener
    Mix 2 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil and 1 teaspoon of Jojoba oil very well and massage the mixture into the cuticles before pushing them back.


ALLERGIES AND IRRITATION

If your cuticles become red, swollen, itchy or irritated, it could be an indication of an allergic reaction. This may result from exposure to acrylic nails, nail polishes or hardener, or harsh chemicals present in household cleaning products. To relieve the allergic response and to prevent future occurrences, discontinue the use of the suspected offending nail product. It's a good idea to wear rubber gloves when doing housework that involves prolonged exposure to water and harsh chemicals.

INFECTION

If your cuticles become severely inflamed or infected, you should consider seeing a dermatologist or a podiatrist. The infection could be caused by dirt that needs to be cleaned out, but it could also be due to nail fungus, yeast or another serious infection. If left untreated, even a small infection could grow into a serious problem.