Nail care: Attention cuticle

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If the skin around your nails has started to peel, it's time to realise that you need some serious cuticle care.

By Farhana Chowdhury

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Published: Fri 4 Dec 2020, 11:43 AM

Last updated: Sun 6 Dec 2020, 2:57 PM

Frayed cuticles come with a fair share of issues. If not well-maintained, they can appear garish. They also sting as you go about your daily routine, bleed if accidentally caught in fabric or pulled, and even lead to infections. Proper care is absolutely necessary, which is why this is one of the first things a nail technician looks at before starting your grooming routine. Now, assuming you don't have the time to rush to one, you can always take care of it yourself at home.

Understand nail anatomy

Your cuticle is the clear layer of skin closer to the edges of your fingernails or toes. Its sole purpose is to protect you from infections so handle the area with care.

Soak in nutrients

Prep your cuticles with a 10-minute soak in warm soapy water for about 10 minutes. Once done with clean-up, ie, the trims, apply serum or oil specially designed for cuticles.

Nourish from within

What you eat affects your nails, so opt for a balanced diet. Eggs, almonds, cheese, mushrooms, spinach and even berries contribute towards the stronger and healthier nails.

Invest in a travel-sized kit

You never know when a stray hangnail or broken nail may get in the way of your day. A portable manicure set can save you when in a pinch.

Keep an eye out for infections

If you notice redness, swelling or severe pain around your fingernails, it's best to consult a dermatologist rather than a nail technician.

Know your tools

Cuticle nipper: These are mini scissors designed to target the grooves of your nails. A cuticle nipper features sharp blades and are used to trim down dead skin. Cut around the cuticle and straight across without pulling or lifting the frays.

Cuticle pusher: As the name suggests, this tool - which comes in metal and wood forms - pushes the skin back from your nails, making it ready for other treatments. Use the spoon end to do the main task, and reserve the sharper ends for the corners. Most importantly, be gentle.

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