Caring for your cuticle is not optional if you want healthy and good looking nails but it must be done right to prevent injury or infection.

It’s December and everyone is excited but also the season comes with harmattan which is a low humidity season which causes dry skin, lips and hair. I have put together 5 tips to help care for your nails and cuticle.

First let me briefly explain what the Cuticle is…

The Cuticle is the thin layer of colorless dead tissue between the eponychium and the nail plate that forms a seal to keep dirt and germs from harming the matrix area.

The word cuticle is often wrongly used to describe the eponychium, the cuticle is the dead skin clinging to the nail plate while the eponychium is the living border of skin just above the cuticle. Although the cuticle is there for a significant reason, some of it can be safely removed during a manicure but for the eponychium however must never be cut.

Someone would say why so complicated; do I actually have to learn this? I say yes because the information will definitely come in handy some time…


Don’t cut your cuticle

It can be quite confusing what to do with the cuticle, if its dead tissue then why shouldn’t we cut it? The simple answer is the cuticle is there to protect the root of the nail from infection or irritation but the hang nails around the nail can be trimmed carefully by a professional to prevent injury.

Use the right manicure tools

If you decide to do your manicure at home make sure you have the correct tools the basics are (Cuticle softener, Orange wood stick/cuticle pusher, nail scissors/clipper, natural nail file). This will help you reduce the risk of cuts, injury etc.

Avoid biting or picking

This bad habit can be very dangerous, while some people derive pleasure in this, it slowly causes damage to the skin and the nails which can be permanent if not taken care of. When there is a build up then you can gently push back the cuticle.

Use cuticle oil

Most people assume hand cream does the same work as cuticle oil, well not all hand creams do, while the hand cream moisturizes the skin on the hand, the cuticle oil targets the delicate skin around your nails, it softens and conditions the cuticle, it helps prevent hang nails and makes the skin around the nails healthy and better looking and it also makes your nails stronger and prevents brittle and dry nails.

Especially in this harmattan season the nails are likely to be more brittle and can increase breakage, the best way to prevent that is to use enough cuticle oil.

Avoid harsh chemicals

The chemicals from some of the cleaning agents we use  are not skin friendly as it dries the hands and nails over time, this can cause serious damage. It is advisable to wear gloves when doing any of these chores to lock the moisture in. Also avoid using pure acetone on natural nails, this is only recommended when taking out extensions.