Are your cuticles peeling? Here’s what causes this condition and what you can do about it.
When you look at your hands do you like their appearance or are you surprised to see ragged cuticles that are starting to peel? Your hands say a lot about you. You can often tell a person’s age and even get an idea of their occupation by looking at their hands and nails. If you want to put your best fingers forward, it’s important to give a little TLC to those peeling cuticles.
What causes peeling cuticles?
Ragged, peeling cuticles are usually found in two situations. One is when the nail cuticles have become dry and moisture deprived causing them to peel and crack. Cuticles can also become damaged when they’re cut too closely with scissors, particularly scissors that haven’t been properly sterilized. Because the cuticle is damaged, it can become susceptible to infection with fungus or bacteria which can manifest as peeling of the cuticle and, in some cases, pain and redness.
What can you do about this condition?
If you simply have peeling cuticles without evidence of swelling, redness, or pain, you may be able to treat them with a moisturizing cuticle cream applied several times a day until the peeling subsides. If this doesn’t work, you can try applying an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream to the cuticle area for five to seven days. If the symptoms fail to resolve with these therapies, you should see your doctor. If you have redness, pain, or swelling in any of your cuticles, you may have a bacterial infection that needs antibiotic treatment. In this case, contact your doctor immediately. In some cases, infections of the cuticle can be serious, particularly if you have diabetes or an underlying immune problem.
How can you prevent peeling cuticles in the future?
The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid cutting your cuticles with scissors. If you have you nails done in a salon, be sure that the instruments they’re using are sterilized. Ask the operator to use new tools that she removes from the package if you’re unsure. Some nail salons are guilty of skimping on proper sanitation procedures.
If you do your own manicures at home, instead of using scissors to trim your cuticles, use a clean orange stick to gently push back the cuticles. Follow up with an application of moisturizing cuticle cream. When you expose your hands to water, apply a rich hand cream and put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands. Hot water can dry your cuticles out very quickly. Avoid the tendency to work with your cuticles too often. This can cause irritation and make the problem worse.
With a little preventive care to your hands and nails, peeling cuticles can be a thing of the past. So, stop hiding your hands and give them the attention they need.